Update Spring 2008 Mid West Tornadoes and Floods

Update Spring 2008 Mid West Tornadoes and Floods

Recent tornadoes and flooding in the Mid West has severely impacted the region. Flooding has reached record levels causing damages to homes, buildings, dams, and agricultural fields.

Thousands impacted, volunteers begin response efforts, more storms predicted.

Flooding in the Mid West has turned streets into rivers and rivers into wild torrents that burst through dams and thundered over banks, destroying buildings and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes in the region.  These floods follow tornadoes that struck some of the same communities that are now flooded.

The United Church of Christ, National Disaster Ministries is seeking $200,000 for the current response and long term recovery efforts.  Donations should be sent to the One Great Hour of Sharing special fund, Emergency USA marked for "2008 Spring Tornadoes and Floods." Donate Now

The United Church of Christ is assisting with clean up and will participate in rebuilding.  Part of the clean up effort includes supplying some of the safety equipment needed by home owners and volunteers to protect against health issues related to mold and bacteria. 

Upfront money – what will it buy?  $6.98 will purchase one each: Tyvek coverall with hood and boot, chemical splash goggle, nitrile glove, and N95 respirator.  This equipment will help to protect home owners and volunteers during clean up.  A minimum of 2000 pieces are being provided to Indiana.  Safety equipment will also be needed in the other states that have been impacted. 

When long term recovery begins in the states impacted by the tornadoes and floods, funds will be needed to assist communities to rebuild.  Preliminary inquiries indicate that there are large numbers of families who do not have insurance and will need assistance with repairing/rebuilding their homes. The United Church of Christ will be part of the ecumenical efforts that will restore lives by assisting people back into their homes. 

UCC National Disaster Response Coordinators and Conference Ministers are calling and visiting with local church pastors to check in about needs.

Initial reports from the UCC Indiana-Kentucky Conference indicate that a number of UCC families homes have been flooded – some major, others minor.   As information about local churches becomes available, it will be shared on the UCC web site.  In Wisconsin at least one church and home have had some flooding damage.

Even as the water continues to rise, disaster response organizations have begun providing assistance, assessing needs and planning response. Responders from regional United Church of Christ Conferences, United Methodist conferences, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, CRWRC, Disciples of Christ and Mennonite Disaster Service were amongst those responding Monday.

Following is current information from State Governments and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Twenty one counties in Indiana, 43 counties in Iowa and 30 counties in Wisconsin were declared disaster areas by the governors in those states. In Michigan, hundreds of thousands of people remained without power because of the storms, including two possible tornadoes, that snapped power poles across the state.  A federal disaster proclamation has been issued in Indiana, others will likely follow.  Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri are also suffering under the impact of recent tornadoes and floods.  In addition to homes and businesses, there are many reports of agricultural fields destroyed.

In Iowa, the flooding reached record levels or near record levels that were reached in 1993 when the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers overflowed their banks from April until October causing tens of billions of dollars in damage.  Gov. Chet Culver said it was difficult to compare the two flood events because "many steps have been taken to ease the effects of flooding." Culver said the state emergency management agency is fully operational and that the National Guard has been called out to assist with flood control and emergency assistance.  Jeff Johnson of the National Weather Service said rain and flooding are expected to continue throughout the week in Iowa. He said at least two inches of rain is predicted for each of the next few days.  He said there will be significant flooding in Des Moines when excess water from the spillway of the Saylorville Dam is released into the Des Moines River to ease pressure on the dam and avoid damage to the structure.

In Wisconsin, five houses in Delton were washed away as an earthen dam around a man-made lake gave way and pulled the houses from their foundations and sent them down the Wisconsin River.

A 250 mile stretch of the Mississippi River from Fulton, IL, to Clarksville, MO, will be closed later this week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because of the flooding. The closure, which could last up to two weeks, will bring a stop to barge traffic on the river, according to Ron Fournier, a spokesman for the corps.

Across the Midwest, dams are being pushed to their limits, officials said. The National Guard has been deployed to help with sandbagging efforts all across the region in an effort to hold back the torrents.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Pray for people who live in communities affected by tornadoes and floods.

2.  To help those affected by disasters you may, send gifts payable to your congregation marked for "2008 Spring Tornadoes and Floods" with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.

OR

3. Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion "2008 Spring Tornadoes and Floods" to the Office for Global Sharing of Resources; Wider Church  Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

OR

4. Make a secure on-line donation Donate Now