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Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
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For more information:

Pamela Burdine
(800) 728-7228, x5839
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100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

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Situation Report
2013 Spring Storms
June 20, 2013

Since May, severe weather has impacted communities across the nation, and it continues to adversely affect much of the United States. In recent weeks, storms, floods and tornadoes have hit many states, including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Alaska, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, and dry conditions in the West have resulted in dangerous wildfires in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Some of the notable events include:

May 15, an EF-4 tornado hit Granbury, Texas, killing six persons and injuring 37. 70 homes were destroyed. Other nearby communities affected included Rancho Brazos, Cleburne and Ennis.

May 19, tornadoes hit Shawnee, Okla., near Oklahoma City, killing two persons, injuring 21 and destroying 40 homes.

May 20, the Oklahoma City area was struck again when an EF-5 tornado landed on Moore and other nearby communities, including Norman and Carney.  This massive twister killed 24 persons and injured another 387. More than 1,100 residences were destroyed and another 335 received major damage. Two elementary schools were destroyed in Moore.

May 31, storms again struck the Oklahoma City area. Heavy rains saturated the area, resulting in flooding in many communities, including the previously hard-hit town of Moore. The EF-5 tornado that hit near El Reno, Okla., was reported to be a record 2.6 miles wide with winds approaching 300 mph.  Thirteen persons are reported to have died, many of them caught in vehicles on the highway.

Heavy rains starting on May 27 have caused flooding in Iowa. The state declared 13 counties as disaster areas. Voluntary evacuations are in effect around Coralville Lake, Iowa City and Waterloo. Continuing heavy precipitation (as much as seven inches over several days) is causing many streams and rivers to exceed flood stage throughout the state.

There is now a watch to determine the impact of rising flood waters including flooding from ice jams on the Yukon River near Fairbanks, Alaska.  Several small Alaskan towns and villages are being affected by flooding.  Ice jams are caused by the long ice sheets that form over the river during the winter. If the ice doesn’t break up, it drives up on the bank and into the water, basically stopping up the river and leading to flooding of the area where the ice jam occurs.

PDA Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in touch with Presbyterian leadership in the all of the affected communities and has responded to requests for financial assistance or the sending of members of the National Response Team (NRT).  In many situations NRT members have met with local Presbyterian pastors, toured impacted areas, and discussed opportunities for collaboration with the broader faith community. In some communities, this has included making contact with local long-term recovery committees, representatives of FEMA, and other agencies and organizations involved in long-term recovery; and in communities where massive rebuilding efforts are needed, it has included assessing Presbyterian and other congregations’ locations to serve as hosting sites for volunteer work teams.

In most of the situations, CWS Gift of the Heart kits have been provided. The numbers of kits include:

  • 2,850 - School Kits
  • 9,385 - Emergency Cleanup Buckets
  • 210 - Baby Care Kits

In addition, 1,320 CWS Blankets have been provided to disaster survivors.

How you can Help

Give:  Share your financial blessings by designating gifts to DR000015 – USA Disasters and Emergencies.  Individuals may give through their local Presbyterian congregation, online, or by mailing a check to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.  You can also text PDA to 20222 to donate $10. 

Act:  Sign up to receive PDA RIN (Rapid Information Network) emails to be aware of current responses and urgent needs you can share with your congregation. 

Please note: In recent months the demands for Gift of the Heart kits have been great, and the Church World Services warehouse stocks are rapidly being depleted. The most immediate need is for Baby Kits and Emergency Clean Up Buckets. There is also continuing demand for Hygiene Kits and School Kits. Thanks to the great efforts of Presbyterian congregations, a sufficient number of kits has been available to help meet the needs of the survivors of recent disasters. Generous support to restock the warehouses will enable a continued response to current and future needs of disaster survivors.  Get information on making the various kits.

Pray: Please pray that through the response of the faith community, the people and communities impacted by severe storms and those offering assistance will be reminded of the faithful hope found in Christ.

Information for this report was provided by Church World Service



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Upcoming Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Events

PHP Advisory Committee

March 30 - April 1, 2014

Presbyterian Hunger Program Advisory Committee meets March 30 - April 1, 2014, in New Orleans, LA, in conjunction with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Advisory Committee and Self-Development of People Steering Committee.

PDA Advisory Committee

March 30 - April 1, 2014

In a One Great Hour of Sharing Joint Meeting, The PDA Advisory Committee will meet in conjunction with PHP Advisory Committee and the SDOP Steering Committee March 30 – April 1 at the Omni Royal Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana. Discussions will include the work and vision of each department, long term Presbyterian involvement, issues and generative thinking.  A mission site tour will be made, followed individual committee meetings, and PHP will visit grant partner, Latino Farmer’s Cooperative of Louisiana.

PDA Advisory Committee

Oct. 8 - 10, 2014

PDA Advisory Committee meets October 8–10 in Louisville.

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