Texas tornadoes destroy homes, no deaths

©2012 Mindy Mizell/World Vision
Tornadoes leave homes destroyed in Lancaster, Texas.

From World Vision, by James Addis:

Poor neighborhoods in Lancaster were among the worst affected when storms ripped through the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas on Tuesday, uprooting trees, peeling roofs off homes, flattening buildings, and overturning vehicles.

Preliminary assessments reveal tornadoes destroyed about 150 homes and damaged another 300.

World Vision is meeting today with Lancaster pastors associations to plan relief efforts that will help the community recover and rebuild.

World Vision’s national disaster response hub in Grand Prairie is located about a one-hour drive from Lancaster, which is about 20 miles south of Dallas.

World Vision is ready to provide relief materials as early as today, depending on the outcome of the meetings.

Available relief supplies include hygiene kits, clean-up kits, blankets, and clothing. World Vision also provides building supplies to assist with repair and reconstruction of homes.

Phyllis Freeman, World Vision’s domestic emergency response director, reached Lancaster early Tuesday evening to conduct initial community assessments.

According to Phyllis, the assessments were at times difficult to perform as police had closed off some neighborhoods. Assessments are expected to continue today.

She says the journey to Lancaster was challenging because of lightning, extreme heavy rain, and poor visibility.

“I saw the area where large semi-trailers were tossed up like matchsticks,” Phyllis says.

About 50 volunteers will gather Thursday at World Vision’s disaster response hub to assemble 2,500 food kits for those affected by storms in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

During Tuesday’s storms, World Vision staff retreated to a small conference room in the organization’s disaster response hub.

As rain pounded on the roof, Arnie Adkison, World Vision Southeast regional director, left the building to observe what was going on outside.

“[There was] a large wall cloud and lots of debris flying through the air. Plenty of rotation in the wall cloud, but no tornado dropping down at that point. Had some pea-sized hail,” he says.

“I was getting emails from my kids’ schools about sending them to safe rooms, too. All in all it was a nerve-wracking 20 minutes. We were watching radars on smart phones, checking out the sky every so often.”

This week, 700 hygiene kits will be assembled by JPMorgan Chase volunteers in Salem, N.H. The kits will be directed to World Vision’s response hub in North Texas for possible use in storm-affected areas.

Last year was the fourth-deadliest tornado season on record and one of the busiest years ever for World Vision’s U.S. disaster response. World Vision trucked in supplies to Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, and Virginia.

With reporting by Mindy Mizell, an emergency communications officer for World Vision.

Text the word “GIVEUSA” to 777444 to make a $10 donation to World Vision’s disaster response.

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