Thursday, May 26, 2011
Samaritan’s Purse Helps Tornado Victims
Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief teams are working in Joplin, Missouri to provide emergency relief to survivors of the devastating tornado that ripped through the area on Sunday, killing at least 125 people.
Our staff arrived on Monday to assess the damage. One of our Disaster Relief Units helping with our response in Alabama wrapped up its work in Birmingham Sunday, and moved to Missouri, setting up our base at the Joplin campus of Forest Park Baptist Church.
The first volunteer team was sent out Wednesday morning to work in some of the hardest hit areas of the city. Samaritan’s Purse is asking for volunteers to help with this response. Volunteers will remove fallen trees and debris, make emergency repairs on storm-damaged homes, and help storm victims salvage valuable possessions.
“We want to come alongside these homeowners who have lost so much and help them through this difficult time," said Luther Harrison, Director of North American projects for Samaritan’s Purse.
The twister that ripped through a densely populated part of Joplin is the deadliest single tornado in the United States since record keeping began more than 60 years ago. It destroyed or damaged as many as a quarter of the buildings in the southwest Missouri city of about 50,000. Much of the city's south side was leveled, with churches, schools, businesses and homes reduced to ruins.
City Manager Mark said the tornado cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town. It hit a hospital packed with patients and a commercial area, numerous smaller businesses and restaurants, and a grocery store. Jasper County emergency management director Keith Stammer said an estimated 2,000 buildings were damaged.
Samaritan’s Purse has responded to two other major storms within the past month. We sent three Disaster Relief Units when a series of violent tornadoes ripped across the heart of North Carolina in April. Two units were dispatched to Alabama when devastating twister hit Alabama in late April, and we are continuing to work in the Tuscaloosa area.
“This is the worst storm season I have seen in my lifetime,” said Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse. “These survivors need to know that God loves them, and we’re grateful that He has given us what we need to respond to these disasters within hours.”
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