March 5, 2012

CWS emergency appeal: 2012 severe storms and tornadoes

Appeal Number 627-T Update
Revised Appeal Goal: $110,000

New Appeal Goal: $110,000

Situation

Two series of tornadoes and severe storms have affected large swaths of 13 states on Feb. 28 and 29 and then again on March 2 and 3. In all, 51 people perished in the two sets of storms – 39 in the recent storms, 12 in the earlier incidents.

March 2-3 activity

The most recent tornadoes affected at least 12 states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia. In all, 39 people were killed in the storms, and 125 people injured.

Among the worst-hit:

++ Indiana reported 13 fatalities.  The city of Marysville was heavily damaged by one of the 16 reported tornadoes that struck the southern third of the state.  These numbers are preliminary.

++ Tennessee had 11 tornadoes with three fatalities and 40 persons injured. At least five counties were impacted.

++ Kentucky reported 32 tornadoes, with 12 fatalities. Flash flooding was also reported in Bell Count, KY.

++ Alabama was also hard hit with at least 16 tornadoes. Five injuries were reported. As many as 40 homes were destroyed and several hundred more were damaged.  Some of the houses damaged were just recently rebuilt from damage incurred by tornadoes in April 2011.

++ Ohio had nine tornadoes, with three people dead and eight injured.

This report is preliminary. Subsequent updates will detail the impact in other states.

Response by CWS, CWS communions and CWS partners

++ CWS Emergency Response Specialists are in contact with response agencies to respond to immediate needs for material goods such as CWS Clean-up Buckets, Blankets and Hygiene Kits.

++ CWS Emergency Response Specialists are also collecting information about needs from state Volunteer Agencies Active in Disaster, from interfaith organizations, and from faith leaders in the affected communities.

++ CWS communions and partners are already moving resources and people to aid tornado survivors, and to assist with cleanup activities. As the communities move from the response phase to the recovery phase of the disaster, CWS Emergency Response Specialists will work with local, state and federal organizations and agencies to train and prepare the communities for their long-term recovery.

++ CWS, CWS-member communions and partners will provide training for construction management, volunteer management, emotional and spiritual care, case management and other specialized activities as needed. CWS will also provide grants to long-term recovery committees to help them in the early stages of their activities. CWS has initiated shipment of material goods to Kentucky.

February 28 and 29 activity

SITUATION: Tornadoes caused significant damage in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois.

++ Missouri: Seventeen counties were hit by the tornado swarm.  Three individuals were killed and more than 100 injured.

In Cape Girardeau County as many as 490 homes were damaged and 25 were destroyed. Additionally a high school and grade school complex was heavily damaged.

In Kimberling City (Stone County), 22 homes were destroyed and 54 sustained major damage. In Branson (Taney County), 41 homes were destroyed.  Major damage occurred to hotels and theaters in this tourist center.

In Le Clede County, one home was destroyed, 8 sustained major damage and 85 suffered minor damage. In Phelps County 22 homes and eight businesses were damaged.

++ Kansas: The town of Harveyville, southwest of Topeka, was the most severely damaged by a category-2 tornado. In this town of 250 people, one person was killed and 14 were injured. Two houses were destroyed, 28 housed received major damage and 36 others were moderately damaged. The community's United Methodist Church sustained  significant damage. Three injuries were reported in Labette County and one person was injured in Wilson County.  Some damage was reported in 14 other Kansas counties.

++ Illinois reported tornadoes throughout the lower one third of the state. Statewide 500 houses and 63 businesses were affected.  Hardest hit was the town of Harrisburg, hit by a major category-4 tornado. Six people died.  One hundred homes were destroyed and another 200 sustained major damage.

Response by CWS, CWS communions and CWS partners

++ In all three states CWS, CWS-member communions and CWS domestic partners are already at work.  Responders include the American Baptist Churches, the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Mennonite Disaster Services, Catholic Charities, Southern Baptists, Adventist Community Services, the Presbyterian Church (USA), Lutheran representatives and others.

++ Services being provided include feeding and sheltering facilities, debris removal (chain saw and bobcat teams), emotional and spiritual care, volunteer and material management and damage assessment.

++ CWS Emergency Response Specialists are in contact with response agencies to respond to immediate needs for material goods such as CWS Clean-up Buckets, Blankets and Hygiene Kits.

CWS Emergency Response Specialists are collecting information about needs from state Volunteer Agencies Active in Disaster, from interfaith organizations and from faith leaders in the affected communities. CWS communions and partners are already moving resources and people to aid tornado survivors and to assist with cleanup work.

As the communities move from the response phase to the recovery phase of the disaster, CWS Emergency Response Specialists will work with local, state and federal organizations and agencies to train and prepare the communities for their long-term recovery. CWS, its communions and partners will provide training for construction management, volunteer management, emotional and spiritual care, case management and other specialized activities as needed.

CWS will also provide grants to long-term recovery committees to help them in the early stages of their activities.

With these recent outbreaks of tornadoes and severe weather, now is the time to remember that the best way for individuals to respond is through a financial contribution. Affected communities are already reporting heaps of donated used clothing piling up. Such donations actually hinder the response and are of no help to survivors. Remember: financial contributions are best.

Budget

Current goal has been expanded to $110,000. Funds will be used for processing and shipment of material goods; for long-term recovery group start-up grants; and for long-term recovery group training.

How to Help

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts in the U.S. and around the world may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (Appeal # 627-T, 2012 Severe Storms and Tornadoes).

ACT Alliance  Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.