Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has heard from and is responding to all mid councils engaged in relief and recovery efforts following severe weather that swept through 14 Midwest states on Sunday, Nov. 17.
Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and straight line winds of more than 80 mph hit the middle Mississippi River Valley, the lower Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley. There were 91 tornadoes, 565 high wind events and 42 hail events, including reports of golf ball-sized hail, according to a preliminary report from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.
The hardest hit of the 14 states was Illinois. Seven counties have been declared disaster areas by the governor, and six additional counties are listed as having sustained minor damage. Also affected were Michigan and Indiana. Six persons were reported killed in Illinois and three in Michigan.
At their requests, PDA has sent members of the National Response Team (NRT) to the Presbyteries of Wabash Valley and Great Rivers. We have also been in communication with the Presbyteries of Ohio Valley and Lake Michigan. One Great Hour of Sharing funds are being made available.
Damage assessment and initial rescue and response actions continue in the affected states.
PDA has received a notice from Church World Service that Cleanup Buckets are needed. The first 200 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets are on their way now to Illinois.
Church World Service (CWS) reports that in recent months, the demands have been great in the United States and across the globe for Gift of the Heart kits, and the CWS warehouse stocks of kits are rapidly being depleted. Additional kits, including Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Care Kits, School Kits and Blankets are requested. The most immediate need is for Baby Care Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets.
Generous support to restock the warehouses will help enable a response to current and future needs of disaster survivors.
How You Can Help
You can stand in the GAP for those affected by these tornadoes and storms:
Give. Share your financial blessings by designating gifts to DR000015-Fall Tornadoes. Individuals may give through your local Presbyterian congregation, online, or by mailing a check to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Act. Gift of the Heart kits are often needed following disasters. Because of generous participants in this ecumenical mission through out the year, kits are ready to be distributed immediately when a disaster strikes. Particularly needed following storms like these will be Cleanup Buckets to help families returning home to the daunting task of cleaning up. Find out how to assemble the Cleanup Buckets for United States responseand other kits for responses around the world.
Pray. Please pray that through the response of the faith community, the people and communities impacted by these storms and those offering assistance will be strengthened and reminded of the faithful hope that is found in Christ.