Tornado Outbreak Slashes Through South; Relief Efforts Underway

NRB | April 16, 2020 | Member News

A tornado outbreak that cut across the South on Sunday and Monday destroyed thousands of homes and businesses and left at least 33 dead and numerous towns with widespread, severe damage.

More than 60 tornadoes were reported from Texas to Arkansas, impacting areas in those states as well as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

“It looks like a war zone,” Darlene Ankerberg of the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based John Ankerberg Show told NRB Today.

“Lots of neighborhoods just flattened. It was an EF-3,” continued Ankerberg, whose house was just a few blocks from a tornado’s path and whose offices and studios suffered minor damages. “We know so many personally affected. 60,000 homes were destroyed. Appreciate everyone’s prayers.”

Collegedale, Tennessee-based It Is Written reported that tornadoes touched down just a few feet away from either side of its headquarters building, which was spared from what could have been a disaster.

“Literally a few feet in either direction and things would be very different today,” John Bradshaw, the ministry’s Director/Speaker, shared in a report. The ministry said the storm came just days before it was set to begin its virtual online evangelistic series “Hope Awakens,” in which more than 24, 00 people have registered to participate on Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m.

“God knows how urgent it is that people hear hope and certainty, when there is so little in the world right now,” Bradshaw added.

Moody Radio in Chattanooga reported that the storms did take the station off the air Sunday night due to a power outage, but its facilities were unharmed.

“88.9 Moody Radio has sprung into action by being a conduit funneling local listeners to churches and ministries where they can help by donating their time, supplies, and give financially to support those impacted by the storm,” Station Manager Brent Manion told NRB Today. “88.9 Moody Radio is also partnering with Chattanooga House of Prayer in harmony with local churches for a day of prayer on Friday. Please remember Chattanooga in your prayers.”

Abba’s House in nearby Hixson, Tennessee, was just 10 miles away from the path of one of the tornados and was not directly affected. The church is working with local Baptist disaster relief teams to provide volunteers and funding. Some of its staff is also helping with fellow NRB member organization Samaritan’s Purse in the clean-up efforts.

“My husband went out to help yesterday and was brought to tears by the devastation,” Julie Harding, Global Media Director for Abba’s House, told NRB Today on Thursday. “We are fortunate there weren’t more deaths and injuries.”

As part of its response, Samaritan’s Purse sent out four disaster relief units loaded with supplies and equipment to the hardest hit areas. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has also sent crisis-trained chaplains to the areas to provide emotional and spiritual care to those impacted by the storms.

“As many communities are asked to stay at home, my heart breaks for families that now have nowhere to go—losing loved ones and homes in a matter of minutes,” said Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse, in a ministry report. “Samaritan’s Purse is coming alongside them to help families physically start to recover from the tornados while reminding them that God loves them and they are not forgotten. Please join me in praying for God’s peace and comfort to cover them.”

Samaritan’s Purse is currently requesting local, day volunteers to help with relief efforts, which are currently being hosted in four locations – West Monroe, Louisiana; Laurel, Mississippi; Seneca, South Carolina; and Chattanooga, Tennessee.  All staff and volunteers are strictly adhering to COVID-19 federal and local guidelines to ensure their safety and the safety of homeowners and residents.

To volunteer, click on the appropriate link below.



South Carolina


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