Des Plaines, IL (March 1, 2012) - In the early morning of February 29, 2012 there were several reports of strong winds and confirmed tornado touchdowns.
According to the Weather Channel, “Seven states across the nation's Heartland were victimized by tornadoes that rushed through towns like Harrisburg, Ill., Branson, Mo. and Harveyville, Kansas, leaving millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses. In all, 12 people died as at least 20 tornadoes touched down.”
In the USA Central Territory, The Salvation Army responded to tornadoes reported in Harveyville, Kansas; in Buffalo, Branson, Cassville, Lebanon, and Oak Ridge, Missouri; and in Harrisburg, Illinois.
While Initial estimates indicate dozens of injuries and at least 12 fatalities in the affected areas.
Harrisburg, Illinois appears to have been the hardest hit area with 40 percent of the city destroyed and six confirmed fatalities.
WORK IN THE MIDLAND DIVISION (Missouri and Southern Illinois—Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.)
Approximately 100 homes—about forty percent of the city—were affected, and there were six confirmed fatalities. The Salvation Army was at work as quickly as possible in this remote area, and served hot meals at the Walmart on South Commercial Road, to first responders and to those affected. Food was provided by a local school where it had already been prepared for the school day. The canteen will be back in action on Thursday morning.
There is a curfew in effect from 5PM Wednesday through 7AM Thursday. Only Emergency Service, police and utility workers are allowed in or out of Harrisburg.
A Canteen from Kankakee, Illinois, in the Heartland Division, is stationed at the corner of State and Water Streets and served Police, Fire and other city workers throughout the night.
The city has asked The Salvation Army to feed those displaced by the storm, and first responders, the American Red Cross will provide mass shelter.
At this time, Canteen feeding services are planned for 3 to 5 days, at which point The Salvation Army will adopt long term service strategy.
The Salvation Army will be part of a briefing Thursday at 7AM, and with the Governor of Illinois at 1PM.
Branson (McDonald County And The City Of Branson)
· Within the Branson city limits there was substantial damage to the new Hilton Hotel.
· The tornado did enter a residential neighborhood taking down trees and damaging homes
· The Branson Salvation Army Corps Community Center sustained significant damage and is not currently accessible.
· 53 people were housed overnight, and 2000 are without electricity in the area.
· The Missouri National Guard has been activated and will be on the scene later today.
On Wednesday, The Salvation Army focused primarily on meeting the immediate needs of those in the most heavily damaged areas of Branson, which were along Highway 76.
A Salvation Army canteen (mobile feeding unit) is currently stationed in the Branson Mall's parking lot and providing snacks and drinks to survivors, first responders and clean-up crews.
The canteen crew consists of one staff member and three trained Emergency and Disaster Services (EDS) volunteers—all from the Springfield, Missouri area. As of 4:30 PM., this EDS crew had assisted approximately 50-75 individuals with snacks and drinks.
On Wednesday evening, the Springfield canteen travel throughout the Branson area feeding those in need directly from the canteen. Emotional and spiritual care was also available for anyone in need.
The Springfield canteen's EDS Coordinator, Richard Meyers, is meeting with area agencies at The Red Cross in Springfield Thursday morning to discuss feeding sites and meal plans. The Salvation Army will continue to collaborate with other area organizations and government agencies as the response efforts continue.
Kimberling City, Missouri
An additional feeding site was established Tuesday in the Kimberling City area near Joe Bald, which was hard hit. The six EDS crew members on this canteen are from Joplin, Missouri (a city destroyed by a tornado in May 2011). It will be stationed there overnight.
According to Lt. James Curry, water in the Kimberling City area is currently in short supply because of damage to city’s water distribution tower.
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
The Salvation Army’s Cape Girardeau Corps worked throughout the day with Dick Knaup, of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). 496 homes were damaged of them, 12-18 of them were rendered uninhabitable but those occupants have been placed with friends or relatives. Mr. Knaup states that there have been no requests for The Salvation Army to provide mass emergency relief.
Lebanon And Buffalo, Missouri
The Salvation Army’s Jim Snell has been to both areas to consult with Emergency Management officials. Lebanon shut down their response between 4 and 5 PM. on Tuesday as the situation was declared, “under control.”
In Buffalo, Convoy of Hope, the American Red Cross and local churches have been able to meet the needs of the city.
WORK IN THE KANSAS AND WESTERN MISSOURI DIVISION (Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.)
The Salvation Army is continuing to provide support to the community of Harveyville, Kansas, as it rises to recover from a devastating tornado that left much of the town in ruins. A Salvation Army emergency disaster services (EDS) team from Topeka, Kansas provided drinks, meals and snacks to more to more than 300 people Wednesday, including first responders, survivors and repair crews. The Salvation Army will continue mass feeding operations in Harveyville Thursday as clean-up efforts begin in earnest, and is also providing emotional/spiritual care services to those in need.
"People kept thanking us for being there for them, especially the police and firefighters who worked all night and throughout the day to make sure everyone was safe and accounted for," said Jorge Madrigal, a Salvation Army emergency disaster responder. "They were very appreciative." The tornado injured 12 people, one critically and left a two-to-four block area of town heavily damaged.
Media requests for the Missouri and Harrisburg Tornadoes should be directed to:
The Salvation Army Midland Division, St Louis, Missouri
Follow the Midland Division on Twitter: @SalArmySTL
Subscribe to the Midland Division Blog: salvationarmystlouis.wordpress.com
Media requests for the Harveyville, Kansas Tornado should be directed to:
Director of Community Relations
The Salvation Army Kansas and Western Missouri Division
3637 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111
816-968-0373 / Amanda_Waters@usc.salvationarmy.org.
Follow the Kansas and Western Missouri Division on Twitter: @SalArmyMOKAN
HOW TO HELP
Monetary donations are the most critical need as supplies and personnel are mobilized.
Donations for the Missouri and Harrisburg Tornadoes should be directed to:
1-800-SAL-ARMY or go to www.STLSalvationArmy.org to make a donation by credit card. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army, PO Box 21787, St. Louis, MO 63109. Please designate the gift “Storm Relief.” Cell phone users may also text the word ARCH to 80888 to make a $10 donation
Donations for the Harveyville, Kansas Tornado should be directed to:
1-800-SAL-ARMY or go to www.salvationarmyusa.org. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army, 3637 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111. Please designate the donation "Harveyville Tornado."
Donations of Household Good and Clothing:
Due to the emergency situation, The Salvation Army cannot guarantee that any individual donations of household goods or clothing (gifts-in-kind) will be sent to the disaster area. In times of disaster, our stores fill these needs from existing, pre-sorted stock. PLEASE continue to donate gently-used household goods to your local Salvation Army store. You will help your community and help us prepare for future disaster relief needs. To find your nearest drop-off location, please go to www.satruck.org.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 82 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org