Hours after the deadliest tornado of 2005 swooped through the Indiana and Kentucky border Sunday, The Salvation Army was already on the disaster scene by daybreak, aiding the survivors of the twister.
At 2 a.m. on Sunday, the tornado roared with winds ranging from 158 mph to 206 mph across Eastbrook Mobile Home Park in Evansville, Ind., killing 17 people and destroying hundreds of homes. The National Weather Service measured it as an F3 on the Fujita scale, with F5 being the strongest. The tornado was reported as the deadliest in Indiana since April 3, 1974 when 47 people were killed.
Salvation Army emergency disaster services (EDS) personnel responded immediately to provide aid to the people in the mobile home area, which was said to be one of the worst places to be struck by a tornado.
In addition to being vulnerable to such disasters as tornadoes, the mobile homes, which are clustered and surrounded by farmland, have no basements or any other safe spots to escape to.
Aid workers of The Salvation Army stationed an emergency disaster services vehicle canteen where they are serving hot meals, drinks, water and snacks to residents as well as emergency responders. Spiritual needs are also being assessed through Salvation Army officers pastors providing pastoral care.
President George W. Bush, who called Indiana Gov. Mitchell Daniels to assess the situation, said, "He felt like the response that we had given was appropriate at the time. And many Americans are now asking God's blessings on those who suffered through this natural disaster," according to Reuters.
Additional canteens are being stationed along with more personnel as The Salvation Army continues to conduct a needs assessment in the struck areas "to see how to better serve those whose lives have been tragically altered by this deadly storm," according to a released statement.
To make donations to The Salvation Army, visit www.usc.salvationarmy.org.