CWS emergency appeal update: 2009 spring U.S. storms and flooding

Violent spring weather has taken shape across the U.S. South and Great Plains regions.

Volunteers filling sandbags
Volunteers fill sandbags to protect this Moorhead, MN, neighborhood from flooding that may be worse than the historic 1997 flood.
Photo: DNN/Nancy Hanson

An active spring weather season includes tornadoes, wildfires and flooding from the Gulf Coat through the upper Midwest. Specifically:

West Virginia
Flooding in Gilbert destroyed 300 homes in an area that experienced significant flood damage in recent years from stalled hurricanes and other deluges. Some 2,800 households have applied for federal assistance.

Severe storms, tornadoes, flooding and mudslides prompted federal disaster declaration in Breathitt, Floyd, Owsley and Pike Counties. At least 1,700 homes were damaged.

A surprise tornado damaged at least 600 homes and brought individual federal disaster assistance to Ashley, Miller, Polk and Sevier Counties.

Tornadoes in March and wildfires in April have prompted long-term recovery needs across the state of Oklahoma.

Homes that had barely dried out from flooding in 2008 and subsequent winter flooding were damaged by renewed high water levels from the Mississippi, Spoon and Illinois Rivers.

Kansas and Missouri
Hundreds of people were injured in early May tornadoes that ripped through Missouri, where the southern part of the state sustained the heaviest damage. As many as 89,000 customers lost electricity, many for as long as a week.

President Obama made federal assistance available to residents in Cullman, DeKalb, Jackson, Jefferson and Marshall Counties who sustained damage from tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding during the April 10 weekend.

Georgia and Florida
A major storm event in late March left much of southern Georgia a declared disaster, including Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Coffee, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Echols, Lanier, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Pierce, Tift, Ware, Wheeler and Worth counties. In Florida, federal assistance was made available in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties. Most sustained wind and water damage from tornadoes and flooding.

Nearly 1,000 applied for emergency assistance across Indiana following storms, tornadoes and flooding during the week of March 8.

These emergencies are in addition to the initial disaster for this appeal, extensive flooding in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Disaster needs continue in all three states even though flood waters have receded. Fargo experienced 612 days with the Red River above flood stage, affecting dozens of smaller communities beyond the city’s labyrinth of volunteer-filled sandbags.

CWS response

Material resources
Shortly after these disaster events CWS provided material resources in the form of CWS Emergency Blankets, CWS Hygiene Kits, CWS School Kits and CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets. Shipments included:

  • Olivet Neighborhood Mission in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 100 CWS Hygiene Kits.

  • North Dakota Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster, 1,000 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 200 CWS School Kits;  used in flooding responses in Maryville, S.D. and Hillsville, N.D.

  • Mayville UCC in Mayville, SD, 2,500 CWS Hygiene Kits, 200 CWS Emergency Blankets, 500 CWS School Kits.

  • Seventh Day Adventist Church of Hot Springs, Ark. 1,000 CWS Hygiene Kits, 76 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 200 CWS Emergency Blankets, 200 CWS School Kits.

  • Seventh Day Adventist Church of Mena, Ark., 1,000 CWS Hygiene Kits, 50 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 200 CWS Emergency Blankets, 100 CWS School Kits.

  • CrossRoads Mission of Cedar rapids, Ia., 150 CWS Hygiene Kits.

  • Seventh Day Adventist Church, Portland, Me. 100 CWS Hygiene Kits, 25 CWS School Kits.

  • Kentucky Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster for Garrett, Ky., 450 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets; for Hardy, Ky., 600 CWS Hygiene Kits, 575 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 100 CWS Emergency Blankets, 300 CWS School Kits.

In all, CWS provided $144,494 in material resources for this series of disasters.

Training & project development
Recovery personnel in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky have already approached CWS Emergency Response Specialists about providing long-term recovery support by way of training and project development.

How to help

Contributions to support Church World Service emergency response and recovery efforts may be made online, by phone (800.297.1516), or sent to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.


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