From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Continue Disaster Relief Work in U.S. Southeast

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date Wed, 4 Dec 2002 18:37:14 -0600


December 4, 2002


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Lutheran Disaster Response, a ministry of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Lutheran Church-
Missouri Synod (LCMS), continues cleanup work and damage assessments in
Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee after storms and tornadoes
brought death and destruction Nov. 10.
     "There were 72 tornadoes and more than 200 severe storms across a
thousand-mile weather front," said the Rev. Gilbert B. Furst, director,
Lutheran Disaster Response.
     "Church World Service reports the death toll remains at 36.
Seventeen confirmed in Tennessee, 12 in Alabama, five in Ohio and one in
Pennsylvania and another in Mississippi.  Federal disaster declarations
have been granted to Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee," he said.
     In Alabama, Lutheran volunteers are working with other faith
groups to arrange housing for volunteers, Furst said.  Early estimates
indicate more than 600 homes have been affected, including more than 250
completely destroyed and more than 200 severely damaged.  "The whole
northwest corner of the state is affected with 29 counties eligible for
federal assistance," he said.
     Columbus, Miss., was "hit hard," Furst said.  Initial estimates
indicate that more than 800 dwellings have been damaged and 136
destroyed.  The Mississippi University for Women, Columbus, "has
sustained damage in the tens of millions" of dollars, he said.	Federal
disaster declarations were granted to five counties.  Lutheran Disaster
Response is working with a local interfaith organization in Columbus to
organize recovery work, he said.
     In Ohio, 696 houses in 17 counties have been affected with more
than 75 homes either totally destroyed or severely damaged, Furst said.
Staff of Lutheran Disaster Response in Ohio is working with LCMS Ohio
District and ELCA Northwest Ohio Synod staff to coordinate Lutheran
congregational relief efforts.
     In Tennessee, 894 homes have been damaged, 37 destroyed plus 16
mobile homes damaged and 40 destroyed, Furst reported.	Sixteen counties
were granted presidential disaster declarations and are eligible for
federal assistance.
     In Mossy Grove, Tenn., at least 100 buildings were either
completely destroyed or severely damaged.  Furst said a local resident
of Mossy Grove described the town as a "very small, very poor community.
There's going to be a lot of under-insured folks here who've lost
everything," he said.
     "The magnitude of the Nov. 10 disaster is difficult to grasp.  The
clean up efforts are enormous, the unmet needs will be massive and the
recovery efforts long term," Furst said.  "The numbers will continue to
change.  The primary focus at this time is northwestern Alabama, east-
central Tennessee, northwestern Mississippi, and north-central and
northwest Ohio," he said.
-- -- --


Editors: When listing organizations receiving funds for aid to survivors
of major disasters inside the United States, Puerto Rico or the U.S.
Virgin Islands, please include:

ELCA Domestic Disaster Response
P.O. Box 71764
Chicago, Illinois 60694-1764

Credit card gift line: 1-800-638-3522
Credit card gifts via Internet:

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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