Cleaning Up and Restoring Life after Violent Storms in the Midwest
NEW YORK, APRIL 4, 2006- Violent storms and tornados rolled across five Midwestern states Sunday, killing 28 people and injuring dozens of others. The Rev. Tom Hazelwood, the United Methodist Committee on Relief's US disaster coordinator, is in contact with all five annual conferences.
Below is a brief summary of how the five annual conferences were affected.
Memphis Annual Conference
Western Tennessee was hit the hardest by this outbreak of violent weather. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen reported that upwards of 1,000 homes were destroyed in the tornadoes spawned by violent spring storms. Currently four churches in the conference have been reported as destroyed or heavily damaged.
Early response teams are already at work throughout the conference cleaning up debris and making areas safe for others to return. Conference disaster personnel are assessing the damage to determine their next steps in recovery. UMCOR has already issued an emergency grant to the conference and is ready to support further efforts.
South Indiana Annual Conference
The bulk of the destruction in South Indiana consists of roof and window damage. One United Methodist Church sustained damage in the high winds, rain, and hail. UMCOR is in contact with the conference disaster coordinators to provide them with any assistance they may need.
Kentucky Annual Conference
A number of homes sustained severe damage in Christian County. Early response teams are experiencing difficulty getting into the hardest hit areas because downed electric wires pose serious risks. As soon as the danger is removed, conference disaster coordinators and early response teams will move into these areas to assess the damage and begin repairs. UMCOR continues to be in contact with the conference and will continue to support their efforts.
Arkansas Annual Conference
The Arkansas Annual Conference is distributing relief supplies from its warehouse to those with needs following Sunday's violent storms. About 1,200 people have been displaced by the storms-many of them seeking refuge in United Methodist churches. First United Methodist Church, Paragould is housing more than 600 people.
Early response teams are working to make areas safe and conference disaster response personnel are assessing the damage and preparing for their next steps. UMCOR has already provided Arkansas with an emergency grant to support their efforts and will continue to assist them.
Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference
Disaster coordinators in the conference are assessing the damage in their region. Trailer parks seem to have sustained the most damage. UMCOR is in contact with the conference to provide support and assistance.
Missouri Annual Conference
The violent spring storms also caused damage in the Show Me State. UMCOR is staying in touch with disaster coordinators and offering support as needed.