UMCOR Responds to "Super Tuesday" Tornadoes in Five Southern States
New York, NY, February 7, 2008-The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and its regional church partners are responding as rapidly as conditions allow to tornadoes that struck five southern states on Tuesday night, February 5.
Early response United Methodist teams were involved in debris cleanup on the afternoon of February 7 in areas that were open to volunteer workers. "In some areas, seek and rescue operations are still the priorities," said the Rev. Thomas Hazelwood, director of domestic disaster relief for UMCOR.
More than 65 people were known dead and scores were injured, primarily in Arkansas and Tennessee, the states hardest hit. There was also damage in Mississippi, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama on "Super Tuesday," the day of many state presidential primaries.
"I cannot possibly feel or understand everything that our sisters and brothers in the stricken areas are experiencing," said Bishop Felton E. May, chief executive of the United Methodist agency that includes UMCOR. "We do want them to know that we care. Ways in which we demonstrate our caring are through our gifts to UMCOR, our presence, and our prayers."
A Network of Care
In the United States, UMCOR is a network of care and action that operates through trained volunteers organized by annual (regional) annual conferences. The central office provides trained organizers and relief coordinators.
Christy Smith of Brownsville, TN, is coordinating response to the early February tornadoes. She lives near Jackson, TN, one of the cities hardest hit and has experience in UMCOR efforts in previous tornado damage in the area.
In Jackson, Union University, a Baptist school, sustained extensive damage, according to Mr. Hazelwood.
"The pattern of these tornadoes was scattered," Hazelwood said. "The storms jumped around."
How to Help
Donations to assist with relief efforts in the wake of the early February tornadoes can be made to UMCOR in a variety of ways. Indicate Advance #901670 and "Super Tuesday Tornadoes." Give online by going to givetomission.org and entering the Advance number, by phone using a credit card at (888) 252-6174, or by check sent to Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, GPO New York, NY 10087-9068. Contributions may be placed in the offering plate of any United Methodist congregation.