Tornado Hits Florida, Relief Rushes In

By February 6, 2007

USA (MNN) — A state of emergency was declared in Florida after a tornado hit four counties killing 19 people.  The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee responded Monday morning by sending down a Rapid Response Team.

Over the weekend CRWRC volunteers had already begun meeting with local emergency management and other response organizations. Their first task will be clearing debris from over 2,000 homes that were damaged or destroyed, as well as helping more than 1,000 families who are without power.  Lake County was hit the hardest.

"A lot of times what our people are very good at is just, simply, sharing compassion and that's really what our people are all about," said Bill Adams, CRWRC's US Disaster Response Director.  "Our people go in really believing what the scriptures tell as far as serving, so they'll go in and they'll serve but, invariably, the opportunity to
pray with someone and then share the Gospel with someone happens all the time."  Those who are already believers just need to know that someone cares.

CRWRC's commitment to long-term recovery, meaning two or three years of relief efforts, offers hope to the communities they help.  Adams said, "These smaller disasters, if I can call them that, like these tornadoes, they don't seem to peak as much interest so having donations come in to support our work there is equally important but more challenging on our part." Their part of the work could easily rise to one million dollars. "That's the challenge- to raise enough money up front to be able to support that long-term work," says Adams.

Their second task is needs-assessment.  "Those teams are people that are going to go
knocking door to door simply sitting down with families and finding out what remaining needs they have that are not being met, either through insurance, or FEMA, or through other means," said Adams.  That information is prioritized and used to give long-term reconstruction.

 "The Lord is the one who is in control.  That's why we do what we do," Adams said.  CRWRC appreciates all supporters and can use prayer for safe travel, as well as skilled volunteers.  Any financial donations can be given by calling 1-800-55-CRWRC or online at www.crwrc.org.

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