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CRWRC responds to tornadoes in southern U.S.

CRWRC is expanding its Spring Storms 2011 response to include the widespread devastation in five states

April 29, 2011


CRWRC Disaster Response Services director Bill Adams, cell 616-560-2782

CRWRC media contact Beth DeGraff, cell 616-648-7821 or 1-800-55-CRWRC

As family members and search and rescue teams continue to sift through debris left by a massive tornado outbreak in the east central U.S., the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) is expanding its Spring Storms 2011 response to include the widespread devastation that so far killed more than 290 people in five states this week.

Less than a week ago CRWRC Disaster Response Services (DRS) dispatched regional managers and a Rapid Response Team to Sanford, North Carolina, 60 miles southwest of Raleigh, to begin early assessments, clean up, and initial repairs from a previous storm system which brought heavy rain, tornadoes, lightening, and hail that caused flash flooding, power outages, and destroyed dozens of homes.

“CRWRC-DRS has worked in numerous southern communities over the years helping them recover from hurricanes and tornadoes,” says DRS director Bill Adams. ”The destruction from this week’s tornado outbreak in Alabama, however, rivals the worst we have seen in years. We are now developing plans for a long-term commitment to those who are affected.”

Working in concert with local and national disaster response organizations, regional managers and other team leaders are exploring arrangements for additional volunteers to continue to address clean-up and roofing needs, provide emotional and spiritual support, and coordinate planning for the longer-term response. Adams says that additional volunteers are being assembled to respond to the needs in Alabama because of this week’s devastation.

The outbreak of more than 250 tornadoes across the lower U.S. between Monday, April 25, and Wednesday, April 27, is reported to be one of the most deadly in the last decade. A stagnant severe weather pattern sprouted the storms that hit hard in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee. A federal emergency has been declared in Alabama and a half dozen other states.

The tornadoes and windstorms destroyed homes and businesses, caused power outages for hundreds of thousands of residents, forced evacuations in several areas, closed roads, shut down public services, and completely flattened towns in the most severely affected areas. Today, flooding is a concern on the Mississippi River as far south as Viskburg.

Heavy rain has also affected a large portion of the rest of the country, with flooding that has caused state-based emergencies from Kentucky to Ohio and as far north as the Dakotas and Minnesota. The cold, wet weather has delayed the planting season on many farms in the nation’s breadbasket. The storm, now heading for the eastern U.S., has spawned tornado warnings from Florida to New York yesterday.

CRWRC seeks funding to respond to these and other storms in the coming months. Help disaster survivors recover from spring tornadoes and storms through CRWRC by giving online at www.crwrc.org, by calling 1-800-55-CRWRC or by check to CRWRC and designated “Spring Storms 2011” in the memo line. Mail checks to: CRWRC, 2850 Kalamazoo Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, Mich. 49560-0600.

Members of the Press wishing an interview, contact CRWRC-DRS director Bill Adams at cell 616-560-2782, or call CRWRC media contact Beth DeGraff at cell 616-648-7821, toll free at 1-800-55-CRWRC.

To learn more about CRWRC’s disaster response programs, go to www.crwrc.org.

CRWRC is a non-profit agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, ministering to people in need around the world with disaster response, development, and justice since 1962. All donations are tax deductible. Member, Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA) and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Give with confidence.

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