Palm Sunday tornadoes strike south
Salvation Army Disaster Services provides relief.
by CHRIS PRIEST –
In spring, warm air currents combine with building moisture in the air—following the sure recipe to initiate the 2006 tornado season.
The month of April, which has seen Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services continuing to respond at the scene of wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma, has now been augmented with devastating tornadoes in Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Salvation Army centers of operation in these three states are familiar with the call to action in the immediate response to the displacement of families, the breakdown of normal services and communications and the re-establishment of normal life in these communities.
For instance, the tornado that moved through Arkansas on Sunday, April 2 left severe damage in Greene County and the City of Marmaduke. Marmaduke has a population of a little over 1,100 people. It was estimated that between 400-500 homes were affected, with over 150 homes destroyed in Marmaduke and another 30 in Greene County. There were 47 injuries with two serious enough to require air lift. Captains Craig and Stephanie Greenham, Jonesboro, Arkansas corps officers, reported they had a canteen (mobile kitchen) and crew of four at the site within one hour of the tornado’s touch down. As soon as they arrived they began serving hot and cold beverages and bottled water.
On April 7, Sumner County, Tennessee (Nashville area) reported eight tornadoes touching down. The hardest hit area in the county was the community of Gallatin, where eight deaths were confirmed. Major Ronnie Raymer (Nashville Area Commander) headed up Army relief efforts in this area. Additionally, The Salvation Army had a representative in the state Emergency perations Center office, keeping us updated on the results of the storms throughout the state as new reports come in.
A tornado also touched town in Glasgow, Kentucky, where our service unit in the area headed up relief efforts, feeding people the same night, and continuing the next day. They were also able to evaluate what other services may need to be provided.
We were able to continue our services in Dyers and Gibson counties (both in Tennessee) from the previous week’s series of storms and tornadoes. We then planned the continuance of the feeding program for local churches within those communities. The following week we were providing basic-disaster related social services. In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, the Red Cross asked the Army to be the lead agency in providing assistance to those who were affected by the storms and tornadoes.