UMCOR responds to Texas Tornadoes

May 17, 2013

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has sent emergency funds to the Central Texas Annual Conference to assist with immediate relief needs after severe weather, including tornadoes and baseball-size hail, shattered the relative quiet of the current US tornado season.

Initial reports from the conference indicate that some 40 homes in North Central Texas were damaged when, at about 8:00 p.m. local time May 15th, storms swept across several counties. At least six people died, and 14 were still missing this morning.

Hood County was hardest hit, with the Rancho Brazos subdivision outside the town of Granbury bearing the brunt of the storms’ ire. The conference reports flooding and damage also in much of Johnson County, particularly in the city of Cleburne, the county seat.

First United Methodist Church in Granbury is providing shelter and relocation services to survivors of the storms.

UMCOR Assistant General Secretary for US Disaster Response Greg Forrester offered prayers and solidarity for the affected communities.

He had just visited the conference and met with disaster response personnel to discuss needs stemming from the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West. Following that disaster, UMCOR trained 42 emergency response team (ERT) members for the conference.

Given this new emergency, Forrester said, “UMCOR is prepared to support the Central Texas Conference with additional funding and training, and with relief supplies and expertise, once assessments are made and needs determined.”

He echoed the instructions of Central Texas Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Laraine Waughtal, who urged those who want to help to be patient and wait until first-response personnel have secured the area.

“Volunteers are not yet needed,” Forrester underscored. “Emergency services and first responders need first to complete their work.”

But you can help right now by assembling relief kits, especially cleaning buckets, and shipping them to any of the relief-supply depots in the UMCOR Relief-Supply Network.

You can also help by making an online donation to US Disaster Response, Advance #901670 or by calling toll-free 1-800-554-8583. To make an immediate $10 donation text RESPONSE to 80888. Your donations matter.