EPISCOPALIANS in Alabama have begun responding to the aftermath of devastating tornadoes that killed at least 23 people, including four children, last Sunday.
The worst-affected area was Lee County, east of the state capital, Montgomery. In a statement, the diocese of Alabama reported that a tornado passed within a mile of St Stephen’s, Smiths Station, but it appeared to have escaped damage.
In the statement, the Bishop of Alabama, the Rt Revd Kee Sloan, said: “It will take days or weeks for us to learn the full impact of these storms.
“I ask folks to keep the community of Lee County in their prayers, especially those affected by these storms, those that are grieving the loss of a loved one, or grieving the loss of their home. Please also pray for the first responders and all those that will take part in the work of recovery.”
His diocese’s Disaster Relief Fund has made an initial contribution to those efforts at St Stephen’s.
Sunday’s tornado, the worst of four to hit the state last weekend, was a mile wide, and travelled more than 26 miles, the US National Weather Service reported. Wind speeds reached 170 mph, levelling homes, and felling trees and power lines. It left the town of Beauregard, a community of about 10,000 residents, looking like a “war zone”, emergency workers said.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the senior director at the Episcopal Relief and Development Agency, Katie Mears, said: “In the coming weeks and months, we will work with the diocese of Alabama to provide relief and help communities recover.”