Appeal Update: Early 2013 Storms, Floods and Tornadoes (US)

April 17, 2013

Appeal: # 627-X
Appeal goal: $25,000


Severe weather April 10-13 brought high winds, heavy rains and tornadoes to states in the U.S. Midwest and South.  States affected include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Additionally, a strong winter storm continued to bring heavy snow, hail and freezing rain to the Upper Midwest. The states affected include Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

In Missouri, tornadoes and high winds caused significant damage in Franklin, Saint Charles, Saint Louis and Ripley counties and in the City of Saint Louis.  At peak, 45,606 customers were without power. In communities near Saint Louis, 29 homes were destroyed or suffered major damage and another 18 received minor damage. Most were in Hazelwood, northwest of Saint Louis. In Sullivan, southwest of Saint Louis, the Jergens Mobile Home Park was hit by a tornado, with six mobile homes destroyed or sustaining major damage.  Fourteen people were injured in these events.

In Mississippi, tornadoes struck in seven counties: Clarke, Clay, Forrest, Harrison, Kemper, Noxubee and Quitman. The most significant damage was in Noxubee and Kemper counties. In Noxubee County 16 homes were destroyed, 10 sustained major damage and another 28 received minor damage.  In Kemper County seven homes were destroyed, five more sustained major damage and three had minor damage. One person was killed in Kemper County and five people were injured.  Most of the damage was in or near the town of Shuqualak.

Tornadoes also hit near Huntsville, Ala., damaging several structures. In Van Buren County, Ark., 55 homes were reported damaged and five people were injured. A weak EF-1 tornado is reported to have struck in the City of Slidell, La., near New Orleans.  In Tennessee an unconfirmed tornado damaged 21 structures.

A late winter storm left as many as 144,000 customers without power in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and South Dakota. One stranded motorist in Nebraska died of exposure to the cold when she left her vehicle to seek help. Two individuals were injured by lightning in Wisconsin. In South Dakota, some residents of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe were relocated to temporary shelters when their homes were damaged by high winds.

CWS Response:

While most of the response will be handled by the affected communities and states, CWS-member communions and partners and other volunteer organizations are, or will be, providing significant long-term recovery assistance.  Early response is coming from the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Southern Baptist churches, United Methodist churches, Mennonite Disaster Service and other national, regional and local organizations.

CWS emergency response specialists are working with state, regional and local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, known as VOADs, and with FEMA, CWS-member communions and other agencies to determine where CWS and its communions can help and are needed.

CWS Emergency Response Specialists Sandra Kennedy-Owes and Susanne Gilmore are in close contact with long-term recovery committees and state VOADs in the affected areas. They will be coordinating the shipment of CWS material goods if requested and will provide long-term recovery trainings as needed. Many individuals from the affected communities have already participated in CWS webinars.  CWS will support newly forming long-term recovery committees with CWS long-term recovery start-up grants, as needed.

CWS emergency response specialists are also helping potential donors and volunteers learn where to best offer their services and resources.

The lead CWS Emergency Response Specialists for this appeal are:
Sandra Kennedy-Owes  251-725-4262 (Alabama)
Susanne Gilmore  785-477-7823 (Kansas)

The other CWS emergency response specialists who can be contacted to provide information are:
Ku’ulei Funn  808-226-6432 (Hawaii)
Joann Hale or, 917-705-3038 (New York).


Total is $25,000. This includes:

  • $4,000 for material resources processing and shipping;
  • $15,000 for emergency response long-term recovery group grants (projected three grants of $5,000/each);
  • $6,000 for onsite training and consultation.

How to help:

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts around the world may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: EARLY 2013 STORMS, FLOODS and TORNADOES APPEAL {U.S.} # 627-X.)

Concerning CWS emergency cleanup buckets, blankets and kits:

Thanks to the great efforts of CWS communions, CWS has made progress restocking its warehouse, but more materials are needed to be ready for future emergencies. Needed to restock CWS warehouses are CWS Blankets, Emergency Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and School Kits. Information on various kits that can be compiled and donated to CWS can be found here.

Concerning volunteer deployment:

Volunteers are best utilized when part of an organized effort. The best course of action is to affiliate with a church or other responding agency. Volunteer time and talents will then be well used in planned and organized activities. There is a lot of work to be done and groups will be needed for repair and rebuilding activities for several years.

During a disaster it is important to remember that the most important immediate humanitarian donation that an individual can make is cash.  If you do have supplies that may be of help, contact a CWS Emergency Response Specialist to see if the materials can be used and where.

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

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit or call the CWS Hotline, 800-297-1516.