Illinois, Indiana United Methodists assess damages

United Methodists are working throughout Illinois and Indiana to determine the extent of damage from the multiple tornados that swept through the two states Nov. 17. While there were reports of damage in other states, the storm’s path took its greatest toll in Illinois.

Paul Black, communications director of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual (regional) Conference is posting updates on the conference’s Facebook page and a special page on its website — Illinois Tornados 2013. The conference has confirmed extensive damage in Washington and damages to home in neighboring towns. Six casualties are confirmed, but search and rescue was ongoing at publication time.

The Northern Illinois Annual (regional) Conference also is using its Facebook page andits website to provide information. Anne Marie Gerhardt, the conference communications director, still is gathering information.

The Rev. Dan Gangler, communications director for the Indiana Annual (regional) Conference, emailed that it appears Indiana was spared the damage that Illinois sustained.

He said that 164 structures — both houses and other buildings — were destroyed in Indiana at 17 different locations. Kokomo was hardest hit. The Rev. Jim Byerly, the Indiana Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, said ERTs from Vincennes, Ind., may be called to begin relief work in Washington, Ind.

FEMA has told Indiana it will not be receiving federal funds for recovery efforts, Gangler said.

“This morning, the Indiana Conference Disaster Response Team approved up to $5,000 for tornado relief,” Gangler wrote.

Relief efforts in the communities affected by the Nov. 17, 2013 tornados will be funded from the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s US Disaster Response advance (#901670).  One hundred percent of gifts designated for USDR Tornadoes 2013 will support the response in Illinois and other areas where the tornados hit.

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