Tornado Response UPDATE
It looks like Harrisburg dodged more severe weather last night. This means their recovery can proceed undeterred (for now - storm season in the Midwest is just beginning, and set to break records). Relief efforts are underway. We've enlisted volunteers from our closest chapters to report from Harrisburg. We'll soon be ready to step in for long-term recovery.
We've seen an impressive response to yesterday's appeal for volunteer and fundraising support, and have launched the Midwest Tornadoes Recovery campaign on our website and Global Giving. We got emails and calls throughout the day - we've directly responded to most already and are positioning talent offered for our response.
As is the case in disaster recovery, permanent building won't likely begin for 4 to 8 months. In the interim we'll be fundraising and developing plans for reconstruction. We will keep folks updated, but will not be looking for a strong volunteer presence in the area until then. If you're interested in contributing to the current relief efforts, there are plenty of orgs making local impact.
Whether you're in the vicinity or not, and want to help, you can show your financial support. We have a fundraising goal of $100,000 to launch our tornado reconstruction efforts in the Midwest.
Architecture for Humanity
According to the national weather service, 30 tornadoes struck 6 Midwest states hit by a string a tornadoes. In many places there was a severe weather warning but no tornado alert. Harrisburg, a town in southern Illinois of 9000, was most badly hit - 300 homes, 25 buisnesses and 6 lives lost. Illinois and Missouri declared state emergencies and are being assisted by relief organizations.
2011 was the worst tornado season since 1936 and the events of this week mark an early start to the Midwest's storm season. More tornadoes touched down in Alabama Friday morning, destroying several homes and damaging a prison. More continue to touch down as this message is going out. Harrisburg was spared further damage this week, but storm season has just begun.
Currently, community members and the Red Cross are teaming to repair roofs, clear debris and provide emergency relief services in Harrisburg. Branson, MO, launched a similar cleanup. As lightly-damaged homes and households recover, attention will turn to long-term recovery. That's where we come in.
Flickr image by TennesseeCorps