Emergency Appeal: U.S. Spring Storms 2014

April 29, 2014

Emergency Appeal #628-A
Initial CWS Appeal Goal: $60,000


Starting Saturday April 26 and forecast to continue today and beyond, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes have been hitting numerous states in the U.S. Midwest and South and are heading to the East.  By Monday night, at least 17 states had been affected and more are being added to the list daily.

Because search and rescue operations are ongoing in many states, the available information is very preliminary. More details will be known as federal and state damage assessments are completed.  In addition, more tornadoes, severe storms and flooding are expected on April 29 and 30 as the massive weather system continues its easterly movement.

North Carolina is among the states hit hardest so far.  One death, in Chowan, N.C., has been reported, with at least 15 people reported injured in the state.  More than 200 homes have been destroyed in Beaufort, Perquimans, Chowan, Pasquotank, Greene and Halifax counties. 197 of the destroyed homes are in the Chocowinity and Whichards Beach communities in Beaufort County.

In Arkansas, 15 people are confirmed dead and there have been numerous injuries.  Faulkner County was particularly hard hit, with 50 homes destroyed in Vilonia and more than 50 in Mayflower.  Also, a middle school in Mayflower was destroyed.

In Mississippi, nine deaths are reported, six of them in Winston County.  In Tupelo, numerous buildings were destroyed, including the First Christian Church.

One death is reported from a tornado in Oklahoma near the town of Quapaw, in Ottawa County.  A death also is reported from a tornado in Keokuk County, Iowa.

In Kansas tornadoes were reported in Cherokee, Bourbon and Linn counties. The town of Baxter Springs in Cherokee County was particularly hard hit, with at least 34 persons injured and 91 homes destroyed or damaged.

In Tennessee, there are two fatalities and an as yet unreported number of injuries.  Other states have been impacted by tornadoes, flooding and high winds.

In the southeast corner of Missouri flooding has occurred in New Madrid, Campbell and Dunklin counties. A total of 49 homes are reported to have major damage.

CWS and Member / Partner Response

CWS disaster response specialists are gathering assessment information as it becomes available and making contact with members and partners in affected areas, including FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaisons, State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters and faith-based organizations.

In support of survivors’ early needs, the agency is offering local partners and churches CWS material resources assembled and contributed by its member communions and their congregations nationwide.  These include CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Care Kits and School Kits, along with CWS Blankets.

At this point it is expected CWS will process five material shipments, with the processing and freight costs estimated at $20,000.  Then CWS will offer its long-term recovery expertise to affected communities, budgeted initially at $40,000.

Please note: This is an initial appeal; an expanded and revised appeal with additional information will be forthcoming. This appeal is being issued only for initial projected costs.

How to Help

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts around the world may be made securely online, sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

CWS thanks its member communions for the efforts to help restock its warehouses with CWS Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Care Kits and School Kits.  Many people in need will benefit from these resources. All efforts to replenish our supplies for future emergencies are as always, greatly appreciated. CWS Baby Care Kits and School Kits are in shortest supply right now.  Click here for information on the CWS Kits program.

During disasters such as this, now is the time to remember that the most important humanitarian donation that an individual can make is cash. Used clothing and other materials do little to restore the dignity of survivors.

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

The lead CWS emergency response specialists for this appeal are:

Sandra Kennedy-Owes,  skowes@cwsglobal.org, +1.251.725.4262 (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina)
Susanne Gilmore, sgilmore@cwsglobal.org, +1.785.477.7823 (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa)
Joann Hale, jhale@cwsglobal.org,  +1.917.705.3038

CWS Development and Humanitarian Assistance Program/CWS New York office: +1.212.870.3151