USA

Hotline - week of May 2, 2011: United States

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Massive tornado outbreak brings death and destruction to southeastern U.S. Storms spawning more than 200 tornadoes swept through six states April 27, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless. Alabama was the hardest hit, with more than 250 confirmed dead and many more injured or still missing.

An EF-5 tornado with winds up to 205 mph struck Smithville, Miss., according to the National Weather Service. Other states with fatalities caused by the violent twisters were Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, where homes and businesses were also swept away.

President Obama has signed emergency declarations for Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, promising federal support for response efforts. Church World Service is in contact with member denominations, partner agencies, FEMA and other disaster recovery officials as they respond to immediate needs.

In addition to providing CWS Hygiene Kits, Emergency Clean-up Buckets and Blankets as needed, CWS is preparing to respond to requests for training support as well as requests for financial support for long-term recovery efforts.

The recent tornadoes – including the EF-4 twister that hit St. Louis, Mo., on April 22 – have come on the heels of ongoing spring disasters across the country; parts of the Middle West – particularly areas near the upper Mississippi River, the Ohio River and the Red River in North Dakota – continue to be threatened by floods. CWS continues to monitor flood situations across the U.S.

To help now, text CWS to 50555 to donate $10, or donate online at www.churchworldservice.org.