Appeal Update #5: 2013 US Storms, Floods, Tornadoes and Wildfires

November 19, 2013

Appeal # 627 Y
Initial appeal goal: $120,000
Revised appeal goal: $150,000
Received to date: $32,000


Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and straight line winds of more than 80 mph hit the Middle Mississippi River Valley, the lower Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley on Sunday, Nov. 17.  There were 91 tornadoes, 565 high wind events and 42 hail events, with reports of golf ball-sized hail, according to a preliminary report from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

Six persons were reported killed in Illinois and three in Michigan, with more than 200 reported injured in various states.  As many as 750,000 people were without power as of late Sunday night. Two of the Illinois tornadoes appear to have been EF-4: that in Minden (Washington County) and that in Washington (Tazewell County).

Fourteen states were reported to have been affected by the large storm system. The hardest hit was Illinois, where seven counties have been declared disaster areas by the governor: Champaign, Massac, Peoria, Tazewell, Vermillion, Washington and Woodford.

In Washington, Ill., hit by an EF-4 tornado with wind speeds of over 160 mph, preliminary reports indicate more than 400 homes destroyed or with major damage.  More than 120 persons were injured in this community of 15,000.

In Coal City, Ill., near Joliet, hit by an EF-2 tornado, 200 homes have been affected, 80 of them suffering major damage, according to Adam Runkle of the Red Cross.

Significant damage is also reported in Indiana where an EF-2 tornado struck near Kokomo. Forty-nine homes were destroyed and another 16 receive major damage.  Twenty-six homes were destroyed in Indiana’s Howard County.  CWS is waiting for results of damage assessment for other parts of Indiana.

In Missouri, there are preliminary reports of wind damage near St. Louis. Wind and tornado damage is also being assessed in Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin and other states.

Damage assessment and initial rescue and response actions continue in the affected states.

CWS Response:

CWS emergency response specialists are in close contact with the many organizations involved to identify the needs of the survivors. These include state, regional and local VOADs (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster), FEMA, state emergency management agencies, interfaith organizations, CWS member communions and many other agencies.

CWS will provide material goods as requested, to include CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, CWS Hygiene Kits, CWS Baby Care Kits, CWS School Kits and CWS Blankets.  CWS has just responded to its first such request, shipping 200 CWS Cleanup Buckets to the American Red Cross Chicago Region for distribution as soon as possible – most likely Friday or Saturday – in the Coal City area.

As the communities become ready, CWS emergency response specialists will provide training, mentoring and/or funding to existing and newly forming long-term recovery groups. These small grants are commonly used for office equipment and supplies, telephone and internet services, transportation and personnel.

Additionally through this appeal (2013 U.S. STORMS, FLOODS, TORNADOES AND WILDFIRES APPEAL # 627 Y), CWS is supporting communities affected by the September Colorado floods. CWS is working with affected communities to provide “Long-Term Recovery Tools and Training” workshops in early December.  CWS training partners include Lutheran Disaster Response, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the United Methodist Committee on Relief and World Renew.

CWS emergency response specialists for this appeal are:
Susanne Gilmore 785-477-7823 (Kansas)
Joann Hale or, 917-705-3038 (New York)
Sandra Kennedy-Owes  251-725-4262 (Alabama)
Ku’ulei Funn  808-226-6432 (Hawaii)
Claire Galiano 609-204-1478 (New Jersey)


Total is $150,000. This includes:

  • $50,000 for material resources processing and shipping
  • $60,000 for emergency response long-term recovery group grants (projected eight grants of $5,000/each)
  • $40,000 for on-scene training and consultation

How to Help

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination/communion or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Donations may also be made online.  CWS thanks its member communions for the efforts to help restock our warehouses with material goods, such as CWS Clean Up Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and School Kits.

During disaster such as this now is the time to remember that the most important humanitarian donation that an individual can make is cash.

Concerning CWS material goods: Thanks to the great efforts of CWS communions, CWS has been able to help meet the immediate needs of the survivors of recent disasters. In recent months the demands have been great in the United States and across the globe and CWS warehouse stocks are rapidly being depleted. The most immediate need is for CWS Baby Care Kits and CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets. CWS also has ongoing demand for its other material goods, including CWS Blankets, CWS Hygiene Kits and CWS School Kits. Generous support to restock the warehouses will help CWS respond to current and future needs of disaster survivors. Information on various kits that can be compiled and donated to CWS can be found here.

If you have other supplies that you believe may be of help, contact a CWS emergency response specialist to see whether the materials can be used and, if so, where.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.