Areas of Texas, Mississippi, and other states were battered by deadly tornadoes and destructive flooding over the holiday. There was a blizzard in the Texas panhandle, and the Mississippi River in St. Louis is expected to reach nearly 15 feet above flood stage on Thursday. If that happens, the disaster will be the city’s second-worst flood on record, falling behind one even more devastating flood that occurred in 1993. At least 20 deaths over several days in Missouri and Illinois were blamed on flooding, news reports said; these mostly involved vehicles stuck on swamped roadways.
“Two days before Christmas, an EF3 tornado, with wind gusts between 135-165 mph, struck northern Mississippi and left behind a 100-mile-long path of destruction,” reported Len and Carrie Blauwkamp, regional managers for World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS).
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency confirmed in a recent press release that ten people died in the storm. Reports also said that 241 homes were destroyed or sustained major damage. More than 400 homes were affected in all.
Mississippi Governor Phyl Bryant declared a state of emergency in all affected areas. The declaration allows local governments to request state assistance for response and recovery.
At least eleven tornadoes blasted through north Texas on Dec. 26, including an EF4 tornado with gusts up to 200 mph that hit north of Dallas and damaged hundreds of homes, killing eleven people. It has been reported that 600 homes were damaged in Garland, Texas, just one of the towns in the tornadoes’ paths. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued disaster declarations for four counties in his state.
World Renew Regional Managers Rich and Pat Grasman are also monitoring a threatening situation in Missouri and Illinois where heavy rain last week is causing dangerous flooding. “A lot of areas are using sandbags to reduce the threat of the rising water, and shelters are available for those who need to evacuate,” the Grasmans said. “The water is already causing significant damage to homes and businesses, but we won’t know the full effect until the water begins to recede.”
As World Renew regional managers, the Blauwkamps and Grasmans are already connecting with national, state, and local officials shortly after the disaster.
“We have been talking with community leaders and other partners in Texas and Mississippi,” the Blauwkamps said. “Once search and rescue efforts are complete, we will travel to several affected communities to see what services we can offer that will benefit homeowners as they start their recovery.”
“It’s important to us that we come along side recovering communities, helping them with their efforts in the weeks, months and often years after the disaster,” says Ron Willett, director for World Renew DRS. “We specialize in long-term recovery and lend our services to those most in need.”
World Renew DRS responds to disasters like last week's tornadoes in Texas and Missouri from its underfunded disaster fund. When you make a donation to an underfunded disaster, you support people who have survived a tornado, flood, or hurricane but don't have the means or ability to repair their homes or restore their lives on their own. Your financial support for underfunded disasters like the Texas tornadoes includes clean-up and debris removal, recovery training and advice, vulnerable resident identification, housing reconstruction, and more.
Will you give generously to help disaster survivors in need today?
Photo Top: A pile of debris is all that is left of what used to be a apartment unit at the Landmark at the Lake Village West apartment complex after a tornado in Garland, Texas, December 28, 2015. In Texas, at least 11 people were killed in the Dallas area over the weekend by tornadoes, including one packing winds of up to 200 miles per hour (322 km per hour). The twister hit the city of Garland, killing eight people and blowing vehicles off highways. REUTERS/Todd Yates