Severe Weather in Three States
May 23, 2011—Tornadoes over the weekend in Kansas, Minnesota, and, the most severe, in Missouri wreaked widespread destruction and caused scores of deaths.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is in contact with affected annual conferences and is preparing to respond, said US Disaster Response executive Rev. Tom Hazelwood.
Karen Benson, Disaster Response coordinator for the Missouri Annual Conference, reported that the United Methodist Church had lost at least one sanctuary, as well the district office and church next to it in the town of Joplin, which saw the greatest damage.
“We have not found all our pastors,” she said early this morning. “We know several members of one church lost their homes.”
According to early reports, 89 people died in the tornado in Joplin, and homes, schools, churches, and a hospital were severely damaged or destroyed in the town of 48,000 residents.
News reports indicated that another person was killed and dozens injured in the tornado that touched down in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In the past seven weeks, UMCOR has sent emergency grants to 11 annual conferences that have been ravaged by tornadoes and severe storms in what has been an active and destructive spring storm season.