Editor's note: At World Vision's office in New York, Mindy Mizell is coordinating media efforts concerning our response to the deadly storms and tornadoes in the American South.
URGENT: World Vision is responding to the devastation left by deadly storms in Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Mississippi, as well as the levee break in Missouri. We are working with local partners to distribute first aid kits, hygiene supplies, and other essential products to some of the hardest-hit communities.
An assessment team is also preparing to survey the damage in Alabama and look for ways to partner with churches and other local organizations to help the most vulnerable children and families.
Overnight tornadoes leaves part of Pratt City, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, in ruins April 28, 2011. Photo: REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
Long pattern of severe weather
"Much of the country has been or runs the risk of being severely impacted by weather this year," said Phyllis Freeman, World Vision's emergency response director in the United States.
"World Vision is already responding to recent storms in Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Mississippi as well as the levy break in Missouri," she added.
"Now, the same destructive weather pattern that just tore through Alabama and several Southern states is quickly moving east toward our nation's capital and up through New York. Our teams will remain on high alert as we continue to monitor and assess the situation."
Focusing on vulnerable populations
Our team is especially concerned about the most vulnerable children, their families, and their communities impacted throughout the Southern states. The elderly and disabled are also particularly vulnerable and require special attention from disaster responders.
There is a high number of fatalities and families left homeless, as well as hundreds of thousands now without power.
"The most vulnerable often fall through the cracks during relief efforts because response distributions don't occur in their neighborhoods," said Freeman.
These disastrous tornadoes have produced scenes of destruction all across the South. Photo: REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
Forming local partnerships
World Vision works with local churches and other organizations in domestic disaster areas to identify families with limited means, families left destitute, or people who may have difficulty accessing other assistance.
"Churches are on the frontlines when disasters strike our country," said Freeman. "They know their communities and the needs that exist there."
World Vision's 56,000-square feet North Texas facility includes the domestic disaster response hub of prepositioned response products, such as personal hygiene and cleaning supplies, clothing, shoes, and other relief, recovery, and building materials.
Ways you can respond
- For survivors of these deadly storms, especially those who have been left homeless or otherwise vulnerable.
- That those affected will receive the basic resources they need quickly to recover and rebuild.
- For World Vision staff as we begin our immediate assessment and response in Alabama's hardest-hit areas.
or text 'TORNADO' to '20222' to give a $10 donation