Update #2: 2014 U.S. Spring Storms Appeal

June 25, 2014



Severe weather continues to adversely affect numerous states throughout the country causing wind, tornado, hail and flood damage and wildfires in at least 10 states.

CWS disaster response specialists are gathering information as it becomes available and making contact with members and partners in affected states, 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. The most recent shipments are to Hampton, Iowa (75 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets); Johnston, Iowa (120 buckets); Algona, Iowa (36 buckets); Rock Valley, Iowa (120 buckets), and Rock Rapids, Iowa (200 buckets).  These material resources are valued at $29,736 with processing and shipping costs estimated at $4,500. Additional shipments are expected.

Earlier for this appeal, CWS shipped 252 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets and 500 CWS Hygiene Kits to Jefferson County, Ala., and 75 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets to Baxter Springs, Kan.  These material resources are valued at $23,312 with processing and shipping costs estimated at $4,000.

CWS is offering its long-term recovery expertise to affected communities, budgeted initially at $40,000.  In July, CWS will be conducting long-term recovery training in Tupelo and Louisville, Miss. Planning is underway for LTR training in Arkansas, Florida and Alabama. CWS also will offer its long-term recovery expertise to affected communities in Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

National and regional entities and local congregations of CWS member communions are already active in all affected states.  They are clearing debris and mucking out homes.  They are providing food in shelters, emergency grants, emotional and spiritual care, volunteer management and supplies of various kinds to meet survivors’ needs.  And they are developing their plans for repair and rebuild activities and other long-term support to affected communities.


On May 11, 8 counties in Nebraska were affected by severe storms and tornadoes. Hardest hit was Clay County, where the town of Sutton (pop. 1,500) was 95 percent destroyed. Also significantly damaged was the town of Beaver Crossing (pop. 307). Significant damage also occurred in Hastings and Cordova. Another tornado event hit Nebraska on June 16. Two tornadoes cause EF-4 level damage in the town of Pilger (pop. 378) in Stanton County. There were two fatalities and 15 persons were critically injured.  Other towns impacted include Stanton, Wisner and Wakefield.  Flooding concerns are also high in Nebraska as the Missouri River is at or near flood stages at numerous communities, including Brownsville, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth and Rulo.

In Iowa, May storms caused wind, hail and tornado damage across the state. In Guthrie County several multifamily residences were destroyed or severely damaged along with 4 single family houses.  Heavy June rains are affecting much of the state. Major flooding is occurring or forecast along the following rivers: Little Sioux River, Cedar River, Wapsipinicon River at DeWitt, the Mississippi River at Burlington, and the Des Moines River. Numerous power outages have occurred (37,000 at peak). Some evacuations have been conducted.

On May 13 an EF-2 tornado destroyed 26 homes and damaged another 76 in Orrick, Mo.

A June 16 tornado event in Wisconsin affected communities in Grant and Dane counties. There was major damage to 30 homes the town of Verona.  29 homes sustained major damage in Madison, and in Platteville several buildings were damaged on the University of Wisconsin campus and 5 persons were injured.

Flooding is reported across the state in Minnesota. Wastewater and water systems have been flooded in several locations. Most residential damage reported to date has been basement flooding.

In South Dakota the town of Wessington Springs (pop. 956) was hit by a tornado.  There was one injury. Nine homes and businesses were destroyed.

We are also monitoring severe wildfires in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska. The most severe was near San Diego, in which 33 single family homes and an apartment complex (18 units) were destroyed.


The United Methodist Committee on Relief has provided communities with Emergency Grants, and has sent out Emergency Response Teams for assessment and planning with communities and to provide Emotional and Spiritual Care.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is working with communities to provide volunteer management. PDA’s National Response Teams are working to develop plans for their long-term support to impacted communities.

Lutheran Disaster Response is also working with affected communities to develop rebuilding and recovery plans. Lutherans are also actively supporting storm survivors with immediate cleanup and relief activities.

Week of Compassion of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has provided numerous communities with Solidarity Grants to support their immediate relief and recovery needs.

United Church of Christ conference coordinators have visited affected communities in several states to develop plans for long-term repair and rebuild activities.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is working with affected communities to develop plans for future home repair and rebuild activities.

World Renew is visiting affected communities to assess immediate needs and to develop long-term rebuild plans.

International Orthodox Christian Charities is reaching out to affected communities to determine immediate needs for relief and response.

American Baptist Churches USA is assessing impacted communities to determine future rebuild activities.

Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers continue to assist communities with cleanup activities. MDS is also working with communities to determine what additional responses are needed in the short and long term.


Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online or sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: 2014 Spring Storms, Appeal #628-A.)

CWS thanks its member communions for the efforts to help restock its warehouses with CWS Emergency 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.  For information on the Kits program, click here.

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.