A deadly barrage of more than 160 tornadoes ripped through seven states in 48 hours, tearing apart homes, businesses, and leaving a widespread path of destruction. At least 315 people across seven states died in the storms, with two-thirds of the fatalities — 210 people — in Alabama. The most violent storm system in decades has injured hundreds more, and the grim toll is expected to rise as rescue workers dig through the devastation. States of emergency have been declared in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia.
AmeriCares response is already underway, working with partners Feeding America and Nestle Water North America to support health care providers, emergency shelters and food banks in communities affected by the deadliest series of twisters in more than 40 years. After completing a relief supply delivery in North Carolina, our emergency aid expert is on the ground in Smithville, Mississippi, near the Alabama border, a town hard-hit by a devastating 205 mph tornado. Fourteen lives were lost, 150 homes destroyed, and the town’s health center which serves the uninsured, has sustained significant structural damage.
We have already dispatched 65,000 bottles of water to the Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville, Indiana and the Southeast Missouri Food Bank in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Additional requests for nearly 300,000 bottles of water are being prepared for Indiana, Missouri and Alabama. A shipment of medical supplies is arriving for our partner in North Carolina, the Helping Hands Clinic, which is working with shelters in the area.
Alabama has been hardest-hit, with 210 deaths, including 36 in the city of Tuscaloosa alone where a mile-wide tornado devastated the city, wiping out entire neighborhoods. The National Guard has been deployed to the state, where as many as 1 million were without power. AmeriCares is working to supply health care providers with the medicines they need to restock for patients who have lost their homes in Tuscaloosa, Cullman, and Birmingham--areas which endured massive destruction. As our disaster response planning continues, additional relief supplies will be shipped based on critical needs assessments.
AmeriCares responds immediately to disasters: hurricanes in the Gulf, tornadoes in the south, floods in the Pacific Northwest, wildfires in the west. Wherever disaster strikes in the U.S. and around the world, we are ready to help save lives and restore health and hope.