CWS Emergency Appeal: 2012 Summer Storms and Wildfires

July 9, 2012

Appeal #:627-U
CWS Appeal Goal: $30,000


In recent weeks, communities across the United States have been affected by diverse disasters, including severe storms, wildfires and a tropical depression. This appeal summarizes several disasters and describes the CWS response.

Minnesota: Severe storms struck the Duluth area in late June, dumping as much as 10 inches of rain in some areas and causing the St. Louis river and other rivers to flood. St. Louis and Carlton are the hardest impacted counties. Communities impacted include Duluth, Rochester and surrounding rural communities. One hundred and fifty houses have been destroyed and over 1,000 more have some level of flood damage. It is a concern that very few of the damaged homes are insured for flood damage as flooding was not expected in the areas impacted.

Central and northern Florida: Tropical Depression Debbie caused rainfall of 10 inches in most places and as much as 25 inches in some places. High winds also created significant storm surge along Florida coasts. The combination of storm surge and heavy rainfall resulted in flooding of numerous rivers to include the Suwannee, Anclote, St Mary and Santa Fe. The flooding has impacted at least 14 counties, to include: Pinellas, Highland, Clay, Suwannee, Hamilton, Pasco, Columbia, Lafayette, Wakulla, Escambia, Pensacola, Santa Rosa, Baker and Bradford. There were four fatalities. Individual assessments are still ongoing.

Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions: From June 29 to July 1, a long lasting line of thunderstorms with high winds impacted states from the lower Great Lakes to the Middle Atlantic states. Severe damage was caused by sustained straight line winds of 80 mile per hour. Several tornadoes were also reported. Impacted areas include Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina. Thirty-nine fatalities have been reported. At one point between 4 and 5 million homes and businesses were without power. Over 200,000 customers are still waiting for power to be restored. In many areas phone communication is still limited and there are numerous issues with water distribution and sewage treatment systems due to the power outages.

Central and Western U.S.: Wildfires have impacted many areas and in many cases are still burning. Major fires have affected Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, California, Missouri and Kansas. Colorado has been the hardest hit. The High Park Fire burned 87,000 acres west of Fort Collins, caused one fatality and destroyed 257 homes. The Waldo fire on the western edge of Colorado Springs burned 18,000 acres and is the most destructive fire in Colorado history with 347 homes destroyed and two fatalities. Residents of many of the areas destroyed are just now being permitted to return to their neighborhoods. Homes were also destroyed by the fires in Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

Response by CWS, CWS communions and CWS partners

Emergency Response Specialists are in contact with response agencies from all four events to respond to immediate needs for material goods such as Clean Up Buckets, blankets, and Hygiene Kits. CWS Emergency Response Specialists are collecting information about needs from state VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) from interfaith communities, CWS CROP Hunger Walk associates, and from faith leaders. CWS is shipping 864 Clean Up Buckets to the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Warehouse in Tampa in response to Tropical Depression Debbie. The Salvation Army Warehouse in conjunction with the Florida Association of Food Banks will supervise the distribution of the Clean Up Buckets to the counties most in need. More Clean Up Buckets will be shipped if requested.

In response to the High Park Fire near Colorado Springs CWS has shipped 400 Hygiene Kits and 390 School Kits to the Fort Collins Donation Center. As the communities move from the response phase to the recovery phase of the disaster, CWS Emergency Response Specialists will work with local, state and federal organizations and agencies to train and prepare the communities for their long term recovery. CWS, its communions and partners will provide training for construction management, volunteer management, emotional and spiritual care, case management and other specialized activities as needed. CWS will also provide grants to long term recovery committees to help them in the early stages of their activities. CWS Emergency Response Specialists also continue to assist communities impacted by flooding, storms and tornadoes earlier this year.


The following CWS Emergency Response Specialists can be contacted for information, to respond to material goods needs (Clean Up Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits, School Kits and Blankets), for Long Term Recovery Start Up Grant applications, and for long-term recovery information and training.

Joann Hale, (917) 705-3038,
States: ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI, NY, PA, NJ, DE, MD, WV, VA, NC, FL and DC, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

Bryan Crousore, (515) 867-0612,
States: OH, KY, TN, MI, IN, IL, MO, IA, WI, MN, KS, NE, SD, ND

Sandra Kennedy-Owes, (251) 725-4262,
States: SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, AR, OK, NM, TX

Kuulei Funn, (808) 226-6432,
States: CO, WY, MT, ID, UT, AZ, NV, WA, OR, CA, AK, HI, American Samoa and Guam


Goal is $30,000. Funds will be used for processing and shipment of material goods, for Long Term Recovery Group Start-Up Grants and for Long Term Recovery Group training.

How to help

Financial contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (Appeal #627U, 2012 Summer Storms and Wildfires).