Initial Situation Report - Oklahoma Tornado
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) will be responding with One Great Hour of Sharing funds and members of the National Response Team to a devastating tornado that struck Moore, a populous suburb of Oklahoma City, Okla.
The 200 mph, F-4 tornado struck Monday evening and destroyed whole neighborhoods. Two elementary schools were in the tornado's path and one school sustained a direct hit. Of the 51 confirmed deaths from the storm, 20 were children. Additional causalities are expected.
Five counties in Oklahoma have been declared federal disaster areas. The Oklahoma VOAD has reported that many unsolicited volunteers have been showing up. They have pleaded that the information get out that volunteers are not yet needed. First responders need first to complete their work.
PDA previously responded to the 1999 tornado in Moore that caused $1 billion worth of damage, including extensive damage to the First Presbyterian Church in Moore. PDA will be working with Presbytery leadership to help meet the needs of families most impacted by this crisis.
How you can help
You can stand in the GAP for disaster survivors, and help the church in its response:
Share your financial blessings:
- Designate gifts online to DR000015 – USA Disasters and Emergencies: write "Oklahoma" in the comments section.
- Give through your local Presbyterian congregation.
- Mail a check to Presbyterian Church (USA), P.O. Box 643700 Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700: please note “DR000015 – Oklahoma” on your gift.
- Text PDA to 20222 to donate $10 for disaster response; or call PresbyTel at (800) 872-3283 to give by credit card.
- Following disasters in the United States, there is a need for cleanup buckets for those returning home to begin the daunting task of cleaning up what the disaster left behind. Learn how to assemble a CWS Cleanup Bucket.
- Volunteers may be needed for future recovery efforts. You may email the PDA Call Center (email@example.com) or call (866) 732-6121 to discuss your interest in serving. You will then be notified if/when the communities are requesting volunteers. Please keep in mind that volunteers at this time are not requested, while first responders are completing their work. Please keep them in your prayers.
As part of the body of Christ, our first and best response is prayer. Please pray for those who survived the storm and will face hard days ahead, for those who mourn loved ones lost, and that the response of the church will be an example of the faithful love of God.
Church leaders have issued a call to prayer. A Prayer in the wake of the May 20, 2013 tornado in Moore/Oklahoma City and a hymn written by Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus are available to download and print for use with your congregation. See the resources section below for additional worship resources.
Through the Cloud and Out of Chaos: A Hymn for a Hard Season, hymn by Laurie Kraus as a bulletin insert
God We’ve Known Such Grief and Anger, hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette