Loading
Catholic Charities aids victims of powerful Ark. storm
Volunteers help clean up debris April 29, 2014 after a tornado ripped through Vilonia, Arkansas on April 27. Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images.
Volunteers help clean up debris April 29, 2014 after a tornado ripped through Vilonia, Arkansas on April 27. Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images.
By Kevin Jones
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- At least 35 people have been killed in deadly storms and tornadoes in the South, and Catholic agencies are preparing long-term support for the storm’s victims.

“The storm was really powerful,” Patrick Gallaher, executive director of Catholic Charities of Arkansas, told CNA April 28. “They’re not finding many damaged homes. They’re either untouched or they’re completely blown away, just blasted off the foundations. Smooth concrete slab is all that’s left.”

Storms including high winds and dozens of tornadoes destroyed homes and businesses, flipping cars and uprooted trees across Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee on April 27 and April 28, USA Today reports.

Some wind speeds in Tennessee’s Lincoln County exceeded 190 mph. One tornado in Arkansas was particularly deadly, reportedly killing at least 15.

The small Arkansas towns of Mayflower and Vilonia were hardest hit. Vilonia had previously been hit by a strong tornado in 2011.

“They were almost rebuilt,” Gallaher said.

He reported that authorities have finished searching for and rescuing survivors and are presently assessing the damage.

Catholic Charities of Arkansas is coordinating with Catholic parishes in the vicinity and with agencies outside of the area, including Catholic Charities USA. The agency does not specialize in being a first responder. Rather, it assists in disaster follow-up action.

“We do furnish the clean-up teams and our forte over the years has been the long-term recovery case management,” Gallaher said. “That’s what we’re coordinating right now.”

The agency aims to help storm victims get “back on their feet.”

The parish hall of St. Joseph Church in Conway, Ark., the only Catholic church in Faulkner County, serves as one of several emergency American Red Cross shelters for those displaced by the tornado. Gallaher said only a small number of people are staying at the 200-person capacity shelter. They may move out within the next few days.

Gallaher reported that there has been an “outpouring of donations” of in-kind items to help storm victims, to the point that there are now logistical problems organizing the donations. However, he believes that these donations may decrease soon. He said the agency is “very appreciative” of monetary donations.

The Diocese of Little Rock is accepting donations for disaster relief funds, and online donations may be made through the American Red Cross.

Catholic Charities of Jackson is also accepting donations to support victims in Mississippi.

Tags: Catholic Charities, Natural disasters

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
19

Liturgical Calendar

December 19, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14