Jackson, MS (April 13, 2020)—On April 12, 2020, severe weather pummeled the south and produced a tornado outbreak throughout Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. All three states have issued official emergency declarations. The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi (ALM) Division is responding to the Easter tornado outbreak throughout the three states. Mississippi is the only state of the three that suffered tornado-related fatalities. “The Salvation Army is continuing to assess service delivery needs in affected communities with local emergency management while also considering COVID-19 social distancing precautions. We realize this severe weather event, coupled with COVID-19, is likely a time of great difficulty and increasing anxiety. Beyond our local service delivery of meals, snacks, and beverages, The Salvation Army has established an Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline at 844-458-HOPE (4673). Hours are seven days a week from 9 AM to 9 PM eastern time,” said Terry Lightheart, Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division.
The deadly tornadoes in Mississippi caused a confirmed 11 deaths across Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Jones, Carroll, Panola, and Walthall counties. A number of other counties across the state are reporting storm damage and over 74,000 power outages. Lt. Brian Hicks, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army Hattiesburg, is preparing their mobile feeding unit to serve in Jefferson Davis County today, where approximately 100 homes were damaged. Major Raymond Pruitt, Salvation Army Corps Officer in Laurel, is assessing needs this morning in Jasper and Jones counties. Other Salvation Army corps officers and service center directors who serve areas impacted by yesterday’s tornadoes are in contact with their local Emergency Management Agency to determine service delivery needs in their area.
Alabama reports nearly 120,000 power outages, with most of the damage consisting of downed trees and power lines. The main area of damage in Alabama is in Etowah County, which is served by The Salvation Army Gadsden Corps. Captain Dennis Hayes, Gadsden Salvation Army Corps Officer, is assessing needs in Boaz and Reece City today. Cynthia Smith, The Salvation Army Walker County Service Center Director, will be providing service to several affected areas today.
Monroe, Louisiana, experienced damage to approximately 200 homes but thankfully, no tornado-related fatalities have been reported. Captain Jerry Casey, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army of Monroe, loaded up his mobile feeding unit and went out to tornado-damaged neighborhoods on Sunday afternoon to provide sandwiches, drinks, and snacks to residents and first responders. “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adds new challenges to providing emergency disaster relief. We’re being careful to wear a mask and gloves, and we’re taking social distancing precautions while serving the public,” said Captain Casey. He plans to be back out in the community serving again today.
Financial donations are the best way to meet the evolving needs and to support relief efforts. To donate to The Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts, visit www.HelpSalvationArmy.org. For the latest Salvation Army disaster response news from across the country visit www.SalArmyEDS.org.