As you may have seen in the news, severe weather devastated the central and southern regions of the United States late Friday night and early Saturday morning. On December 10, a series of at least 30 tornadoes hit Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Western Kentucky was the hardest hit, bearing a majority of the loss of life and property damage from the storms. Together, we can channel our kindness into making a difference for those affected.
- Kentucky was placed under a state of emergency early Saturday morning (December 11). The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and the National Guard are currently assessing damage from the storm, providing aid, and distributing resources.
- Over one thousand buildings were destroyed in Kentucky alone. Tens of thousands of people were left without clean water, electricity, or safe housing.
- Deaths have been reported in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.
Resources for Those Affected:
- If you are in need of shelter, you can text “SHELTER” and your zip code to 43362, or use the shelter map on FEMA’s app.
- You can learn about FEMA’s resources and lifelines here.
- The Department of Homeland Security has put together a list of steps to take to remain safe before, during, and after tornadoes.
- The Center for Disease Control has specific safety information about cleaning up, repairing damage, and returning home after a tornado.
- If you are experiencing emotional distress, are in crisis, or need someone to talk to, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or reach out to IMAlive to chat with a trained crisis intervention volunteer.
- You can find specific resources on coping with sheltering in place, experiencing trauma from tornadoes, and more here.
How to Help:
- Check on friends and family who may have been directly impacted. It is also a good idea to check on those who have had traumatic experiences in past natural disasters, since the news may be bringing back painful memories.
- Be there to listen to those who are affected, and ask them what you can do to support and comfort them. Focus on creating a safe space for expression and recovery for those who are hurting.
- Donate blood if you are able to. Even if you do not live in or near an affected area, your donation can help hospitals to treat other patients who are in need of blood transfusions near you.
- Make a monetary donation if you are in a position to do so. You can find reputable organizations through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in a Disaster (NVOAD) website.
- The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, which was established by Governor Andy Beshear, is collecting tax deductible donations here.
- The Mayfield Community Foundation has also set up a GoFundMe to support their town, which was hit particularly hard.
- Kentucky’s First Lady, Britainy Beshear, has organized a Christmas toy drive to benefit children in Western Kentucky.
- Be patient, be gentle, and be kind. These may seem like simple tasks, but they make a huge difference to everyone you interact with.