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World Vision prepares to respond to severe weather in Alabama, southern states

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DALLAS, TX April 28, 2011- World Vision’s domestic relief team is preparing to deploy from the Dallas area to Alabama and nearby states hardest-hit by last night’s storms. The team will depart this Saturday morning to assess the damage caused by the series of destructive storms and tornadoes that struck half a dozen U.S. states on Wednesday.

“Considering the extensive scope of this month’s widespread storms, World Vision is taking this latest weather pattern extremely serious and at the level of Hurricane Katrina,” said Phyllis Freeman, World Vision's emergency response director in the United States. "Much of the country has been or runs the risk of being severely impacted by weather this year. World Vision is already responding to recent storms in Oklahoma, North Carolina and Mississippi as well as the levee break in Missouri. Now the same destructive weather pattern that just tore through Alabama and several southern states is quickly moving east toward our nation’s capital and up through New York. Our teams will remain on high alert as we continue to monitor and assess the situation”.

The Christian relief organization is especially concerned about the most vulnerable children, their families and their communities impacted throughout all of the southern states. Children, the elderly and disabled are also particularly vulnerable and require special attention from disaster responders. World Vision is concerned about the high number of fatalities and families left homeless as well as hundreds of thousands now without power.

“The most vulnerable often fall through the cracks during relief efforts because response distributions don’t occur in their neighborhoods,” said Freeman.

Starting this weekend, World Vision’s assessment team will begin surveying the damage in the Alabama area while looking for specific ways to partner with local organizations to help the most-affected communities. World Vision works with local churches and other organizations in domestic disaster areas to identify families with limited means, families left destitute, or people who may have difficulty accessing other assistance.

“Churches are on the frontlines when disasters strike our country. They know their communities and the needs that exist there,” said Freeman.

World Vision's 56,000-square feet North Texas facility includes the domestic disaster response hub of prepositioned response product such as personal hygiene and cleaning supplies, clothing and shoes and other relief, recovery and building materials. Financial donations are being accepted for World Vision’s disaster response at worldvision.org or by calling (888) 56-CHILD.