Samaritan’s Purse Responds to Storms in South and Midwest

May 8, 2017 • United States

We have deployed to help homeowners affected by a tornado in Mississippi and by flooding in Missouri.

Samaritan’s Purse has deployed to Ripley County, Missouri, to help wearied residents affected by historic flooding. One of our disaster relief units—a tractor trailer stocked with equipment and supplies—is on site at His Place Church in Doniphan. Our work with homeowners commenced on May 7; day and overnight volunteers should report to the church for orientation.

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More than 12 inches of rain drenched much of Missouri the weekend of April 29-30, triggering deadly flash floods. At least nine people were killed.

Heavy rains fell again recently, and hundreds of roads have been closed. The Black River has flooded at many points, including the small towns of Doniphan and Van Buren. Hundreds of homes have been inundated.

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The current flooding comes 16 months after a rare Christmas flood swamped areas around St. Louis, damaging hundreds of homes. Samaritan’s Purse volunteers fanned out across the metro area in the early part of 2016, showing the love of Jesus Christ. Teams tore out waterlogged walls and insulation and pulled up flooring and damaged cabinets. As our teams provided practical help, they also shared the hope of the Gospel with homeowners devastated by the disaster.

Mississippi Tornado

A tornado ripped up Durant, Mississippi, on April 30.

A tornado ripped through Durant, Mississippi, on April 30.

Samaritan’s Purse is also responding to tornado-stricken Durant, Mississippi, a city of about 2,500 people north of Jackson, the state capital. Officials with the state’s Emergency Management Agency requested our help.

The powerful storm struck Sunday, hitting every block in town. One man was killed, dozens of homes were flattened, and nearly 300 houses sustained some degree of damage.

One of our disaster relief units is on site in Durant at 16110 North Jackson Street; daily volunteers should report there. Overnight volunteers should report to Williamsville Baptist Church, our host church for this response. Work with homeowners commenced here on May 6.

Teams are coming alongside homeowners in Jesus’ Name, helping them in a variety of ways. We are tarping roofs, chainsawing downed trees, removing debris, cleaning up properties, and retrieving precious belongings.

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One resident said she was driving to church when the tornado hit. “Trees were falling down, but the Good Lord turned them the other way,” she told a reporter from WLBT News.

“Regretfully, we had one fatality and we hate that,” said Mayor Tasha Boyette-Davis. “We are going to continue to try and stay uplifted.”

This is the second time this year that we have deployed to Mississippi following a tornado. A total of 772 Samaritan’s Purse disaster relief volunteers helped 209 homeowners in Hattiesburg and Petal clean up after a powerful January tornado ripped up the area. There were 37 salvations reported during the deployment from Jan. 23-Feb. 18.

Luther Harrison, vice president for Samaritan’s Purse North American Ministries, requests that these deployments be bathed in prayer. “Please pray that God will protect our volunteers and that He will enable us to help and minister to families affected,” he said.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains also have been deployed to both Missouri and Mississippi, providing emotional and spiritual care to residents struggling to pick up the pieces.

Minor updates were made to this story on May 8, following a significant revision on May 6. The original article was published May 4.

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U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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