Responding to devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, Episcopal Relief & Development has produced bulletin inserts for distribution at worship services this Sunday. From an ER-D update:
Episcopal Relief & Development has been in contact with local partners in the Episcopal dioceses of Fort Worth and Oklahoma following tornadoes on May 16 and May 20 that caused severe damage and loss of life. These devastating events were caused by a large storm system that set off tornado alerts from Texas to Minnesota. Weather threats continue, with severe thunderstorm advisories in place from Dallas-Fort Worth to Chicago, and the highest likelihood of tornadoes in the area between Dallas and Little Rock.
At this time, Episcopal Relief & Development encourages prayers for those impacted, and for first responders who are providing immediate assistance. Donations to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Tornado Response Fund will support outreach efforts in affected areas and help meet urgent needs. Because local capacity to receive and house volunteers is currently very limited, interested individuals are requested to sign up via the US Disaster Program’s “Ready to Serve” volunteer database to be contacted down the road when help is needed.
Local responders and authorities are currently assessing the situation in Moore, Oklahoma, just outside Oklahoma City, where a two-mile-wide tornado leveled neighborhoods and destroyed two elementary schools on the evening of May 20. Of the 24 deaths currently confirmed, seven were children at Plaza Towers Elementary School. According to reports, debris and road damage are hampering search and rescue efforts.
The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma posted the following message on their website: “Thank you to all who have reached out to us in response to the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. We are in the process of assessing the situation and coordinating assistance to our communities.”
Katie Mears, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Director of US Disaster Preparedness and Response, has been in contact with the Rev. Canon José A. McLoughlin, Canon to the Ordinary, and anticipates partnering with the diocese to assist those most vulnerable following this disaster. “We’re prepared to do what we need to do and we’re going to do what we can,” McLoughlin told Episcopal News Service in a story published on May 21.
Read more here.