Multiple tornadoes wreaked havoc on North Carolina over the weekend, leaving at least 22 people dead.
With winds estimated at 160 mphs, the confirmed eight tornadoes tore through central North Carolina leaving behind a trail of collapsed buildings, fallen trees, and damaged homes with chunks missing. The “family” of tornadoes is the most devastating North Carolina has seen in over 20 years.
State Director of Emergency Management Doug Hoell described the storm as “the most severe, widespread tornadoes we have seen since the mid-1980s,” according to Raleigh News & Observer.
At least 130 people were injured by the tornadoes that struck Saturday afternoon, announced the North Carolina Emergency Management on Sunday. Gov. Beverly Perdue has declared a state of emergency for all of North Carolina.
On Sunday night, three Disaster Relief Units with emergency workers from Samaritan’s Purse arrived in the affected areas.
“Our prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones in these terrible storms, and we’ll be doing all we can to help,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Boone, N.C.-based Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse.
Graham, who is also CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, noted that Samaritan’s Purse has worked all over the world to respond to disasters, “but there are times when some of the most difficult and hard-hit places are within a few miles of home.”
The tornadoes that struck North Carolina were part of a storm system that days earlier had moved through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and after hitting North Carolina, to Virginia.
At least 43 people have died overall from the storm system that struck the Central and then Southern states.
Samaritan’s Purse is calling for volunteers to join the disaster relief teams to help clean up debris and work on emergency repairs on homes.