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Tornado Causes Destruction in Georgia

On January 9, a tornado left a trail of destruction in southwest Georgia near Arlington. It leveled two houses and damaged several other homes. The tornado also wreaked havoc on century-old stands of oak trees and southern pines.

The Georgia Rapid Response team organized a workday to help clean up in this area. They split into two crews and cleaned up six homes. Cleanup included piling trees to be burned, removing tree limbs from buildings, and tarping several roofs.

Arlington, Georgia tornado damage.

We thank God for granting safety and favorable weather to the 18 men involved in this project. These men provided a total of 144 hours of labor using skid loaders, mini excavators, a man lift, and lots of sweat equity.

Please pray that people affected by this storm will feel God’s peace and grace.


To help support the Disaster Response Services USA program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Severe weather in the U.S.

Severe weather, Christian Aid Ministries

Severe weather in the U.S. raised havoc over the past two weeks. Eleven states in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and the South reported damage from tornadoes, strong winds, large hail, and flooding. At least 32 people died, and dozens were injured.

Christian Aid Ministries
Iowa

Two major tornadoes hit Mississippi and Arkansas with a destructive path that affected some places in neighboring states. The east coast rarely experiences tornadoes, but several states suffered the wrath of Severe weather. Delaware reported its first tornado-related death in forty years, and New Jersey confirmed at least four tornadoes.

Christian Aid Ministries
Georgia tornado
Severe weather, Christian Aid Ministries
Georgia tornado

Our Rapid Response teams are actively investigating the needs and performing cleanup projects in various states. The teams deployed are from Tennessee, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Georgia, Arkansas, and Illinois. Other organizations are also active, so at this point, it appears like most of the cleanup projects will only last for one or two weeks.

Christian Aid Ministries
Rapid Response cleanup team

Thank you for your financial support and interest in helping our neighbors in the U.S. Please continue to pray that our teams could restore hope to devastated homeowners and others in need.

To help support the Disaster Response Services program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Helping a neighbor in need

Helping a neighbor in need, Christian Aid Ministries

“Nothing in life compares to helping a neighbor in need.” In the Bible, Jesus redefines our neighbor as anyone we can help in time of need. Our neighbors in Kentucky certainly needed that helping hand.

In the days immediately after the flooding, Ruthie and I met a lot of people struggling to find a way forward. Many lost their homes and belongings. Some lost friends and family members. People grasp for that helping hand in times like these. Covered in mud and with tears in their eyes, they welcomed our embrace and prayers.

Pain and loss after KY flooding

A coordinator asked us to visit a couple he sensed was struggling. During the flood, they had waited 12 hours to be rescued by boat and lost two friends, one whose body had not been recovered. Then there was the young couple who had just married and closed on a house six days before the flood ruined it. They had not even moved in yet.

We also talked with Scott* and his parents, who started coming to the Loaves & Fishes Food Kitchen for meals and comfort. One day at the food kitchen, Scott asked us to come to their place again. “If you can’t find me, look for me. I’ll be around somewhere.”

The next morning Scott committed suicide. We arrived right after it happened and sat with his parents as they tried to comprehend it all. In the following days, the kitchen provided meals for them and we helped with funeral arrangements. The family requested that the Loaves & Fishes volunteers sing at the funeral.

“It does something to your soul”

Every time we look at a CAM project in our rearview mirror, we realize how God used everyone involved to accomplish His purpose. So many hurting people connect with a coordinator or volunteer. These people speak of the things you said when you reached out to steady them. Or the song you sang that encouraged them. Or how you worked in the mud and slime. It’s so rewarding, isn’t it? We were made for this. Nothing in life compares to helping a neighbor in need. It does something to your soul.

*Name changed to protect identity.

Written by Clair & Ruthie Martin

To help support the Disaster Response Services program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Hurricane Ian flood waters devastate Florida

Hurricane Ian flood waters, Christian Aid Ministries

Hurricane Ian proved to be one of the most devastating storms in the U.S. with historic flooding and strong winds. The Florida governor described the storm as a “500-year flooding event” after it barreled into his state. Many residents waited to be rescued from Hurricane Ian flood waters as streets turned into rivers. Government rescue works freed people from their attics and rooftops. The death toll is still unknown but is on the rise.

The hurricane reduced to a tropical storm while on its way to the Carolinas and Georgia, but the 75 mph winds and drenching rain are still hazardous. Many people in the southern states are still at risk of major loss as the storm continues, while the damage Hurricane Ian left behind in Florida is heartbreaking to the people who lost most of their belongings.

Yesterday, our Rapid Response team started researching needs in Sarasota and Fort Myers. Our team plans to investigate several other cities that are still under water. As soon as the Hurricane Ian flood waters recede, our team members plan to visit those areas to research the damages. At this point, the extent of the potential cleanup project is unclear.

Thank you for your support and concern for the people in Florida. Please continue to pray for the thousands of people reeling in the aftermath of the storm or are still weathering the winds and rain.

To help support the Disaster Response Services program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida

Hurricane Ian makes landfall

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida as a category 4 hurricane with dangerous winds of 155 mph. The storm is predicted to continue overnight and into Thursday with heavy winds and rain mixed with possible tornadoes.

About 2.5 million people had mandatory evacuation orders, and over 145,000 power outages were reported this morning even before the hurricane made landfall. Hurricane Ian is projected to be one of the costliest storms in our country’s history.

CAM teams are on standby

Our Rapid Response teams are actively watching the storm and preparing to investigate needs as soon as it is safe to travel. Some of our Florida team members live in areas affected by the hurricane. The Loaves & Fishes Food Kitchen is also on standby in case the need for meals arises. Please pray for protection for the people in the path of Hurricane Ian and for wisdom for our staff and team members preparing to help those in need.

To help support the Disaster Response Services program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Hurricane Fiona causes catastrophic flooding

Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, Christian Aid Ministries

Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico dumped 15-24 inches of rain in some places after its landfall early Monday. Mudslides and severe flooding resulted from the unrelenting rains that are still pounding the territory. Even though the hurricane force of Fiona is past, up to 30 inches of rain is predicted to fall.

Over 1,000 water rescues by government agencies brought people to safety, but some people are still in life-threatening conditions because of the continued rain. Before the main part of the storm hit, the power grid went down across the island and left everyone in the dark. Thousands of people are still without water and electricity.

Some areas of Puerto Rico were still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island five year ago. Thousands of homes still had blue tarps for their roofs. Now Hurricane Fiona ripped off more roofs and caused everything to become drenched, if the rising water from the streets hadn’t already done so.

Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, Christian Aid Ministries
blocked roads from mudslides.

Our recently established Rapid Response team in Puerto Rico is investigating the needs and ways CAM can help. Please pray for them as they make decisions and travel through the territory. Some areas aren’t accessible yet because of the flooding and mudslides, but our team is checking out places they are able to access safely.

To help support the Rapid Response Services program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Severe Flooding in Kentucky update

Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries

Pictures of the Kentucky flooding last month speak volumes. They tell of the pain, grief, and loss that is being felt up and down the hollows and vales of Jackson and Hindman, Kentucky.

Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Rapid Response cleanup crews clean out a flooded house.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Christian Aid volunteers worked hard cleaning out the water-logged content of this house.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
The stately hall clock joins the pile with the rest of this homeowners’ possessions.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
The river behind this house rose 41 feet.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Join us in praying for the many people who lost much in the Kentucky flood.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Water levels reached four feet in this living room.
Many family memories lie in ruins. Treasured photos are destroyed and lost.
Water covered the kitchen countertop.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Many family memories lie in ruins. Treasured photos are destroyed and lost.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Note the water mark halfway up the wardrobe in this bedroom.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Remnants of a house
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
The house that once stood on this foundation disappeared. A playhouse washed from upstream now stands in its stead.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
The Radio Flyer flying high in the tree marks the flood’s water level.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
This bus made its final stop in the middle of the river.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Volunteers with the Loaves and Fishes food kitchen serve hot meals and sing to encourage locals and flood victims who stop by.

Recovery from this devastating flood will take a long time. For some life will never be the same.  Join us in prayer for them as they try to salvage and rebuild.

Would you like to help people affected by disasters like the Kentucky flooding? See the donation option below to help with cleanup and rebuilding after natural disasters across the United States.

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Severe Flooding in Kentucky

August 2, 2022

Record rainfall sweeping through the area caused severe flooding in Kentucky last week. People in eastern Kentucky share their stories of desperately trying to escape as floodwaters rose.

Now, many face loss, destruction, and sorrow. The floodwaters swept away trees, vehicles, and entire houses. More than thirty people, including young children, were killed. But more are still missing. “People are left with nothing,” said one woman.


At a glance

  • At least 30 people were killed.
  • CAM Rapid Response teams are researching and beginning cleanup in Hindman, Kentucky, and Jackson, Kentucky.
  • The flood is the second major disaster to hit Kentucky in less than a year. In December, severe tornadoes wreaked havoc in parts of the state.

A wave of muddy water rushed into an Anabaptist congregation’s church house. The water rose to four feet in the basement, soaking schoolbooks, overturning desks, and leaving a mess of mud and debris.

Flooding in Kentucky
Rising floodwaters in the church house.
Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
Mud, debris, and overturned chairs in the church house after the water resided.

“The damage to our church seemed minor when we began to see and hear about the devastation that had happened . . . in the surrounding community,” said one woman from this church. “There were places where a creek that was normally a foot deep became a 20-foot-deep river.”

She also told of the flooding in the nearby city of Hindman. “Trailer houses floated away; windows broke in; people, not knowing what was going on in the dark, stepped out the door to check it out and were swept away.” Only the roofs of one-story homes were left above the water.

Sorrow in the floodwaters

As floodwaters rose, one father hoisted his four children onto the roof of their house trailer to keep them above the water. He then tied them together using an extension cord so he could hold them on the roof.

Then another trailer house floating in the floodwaters rammed into this house, tumbling his children into the water below. Their father could only watch helplessly. None of them survived.
Another flood victim, Leah,* heard screaming coming from her neighbors’ home. She yelled, “Cody, is that you?”

“Yes, help us!” came the desperate reply. As Leah tried to find a way to help, the house disintegrated before her eyes. Her neighbors, caught inside, were killed.

Responding to Kentucky’s severe flooding

Cleanup and hot meals

CAM Rapid Response staff members are researching needs in Kentucky. Teams are stationed in the Jackson and Hindman areas, where they are beginning cleanup work. Floodwaters are still standing in some areas, so our teams are beginning work in higher elevations. As the water recedes, they will continue to research needs.

Yesterday CAM’s Loaves & Fishes food kitchen began serving hot meals to flood victims. The kitchen is set up in Jackson, Kentucky, and operated by the New Order Amish. Another CAM-funded food kitchen will be set up in Hindman.

Flooding in Kentucky, Christian Aid Minstries
A Rapid Response team cleans up a flooded home.

The goal of these kitchens is to provide much-needed hot meals to people who have lost nearly everything. The kitchens also open doors to offer a listening ear and Jesus’ hope.

We will continue to look for ways to offer a compassionate hand in the wake of the severe flooding in Kentucky. Supporters’ donations help us to respond with cleanup and rebuilding in response to this and other similar disasters in the United States.

*Names in this article are changed to protect identities.

To help support the Disaster Response Services program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Finding hope in crisis

hope in crisis, Christian Aid Ministries

Hurricane Laura wreaked damage in Louisiana in August 2020. William* is one homeowner who was affected by the storm. Laura’s terrifying winds flipped his garage roof onto his bedroom, breaking rafters. Rain poured in through the downed roof, caused extensive water damage, and made the house uninhabitable.

After months of remodeling, William was preparing to move back into his home. Then in the spring of 2021, another crisis hit—this time a flood. William visited his home following the flood and could hardly believe what he saw.

Fifteen to eighteen inches of water had flooded his home, leaving a mess of mud and mold. William had no money for repairs. He didn’t know where to start. Discouraged, he closed his house door and left.

William found a number for CAM’s Disaster Response Services (DRS) and called, asking for help. He said that, even if DRS couldn’t help repair his home, he needed someone to look at his house and advise him what to do. CAM was able to help by gutting his house and spraying for mold.

William is one of hundreds of homeowners who doesn’t know where to turn when crisis strikes. So how does CAM help in the wake of disasters? Following tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or fires in the United States, our Rapid Response teams investigate and respond to damage. Their work includes cutting up fallen trees, clearing debris, mucking out houses, and tarping damaged roofs. If a disaster area requires long-term recovery help, our DRS rebuilding program may set up a base. Volunteer work teams come to the base to repair or rebuild homes.

Many DRS recipients are underinsured, have low incomes, and don’t know how to move forward after a crisis. We desire to point these people to peace and refuge in the Lord.

*Name is changed to protect identity.

To help support the Disaster Response Services program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Tornado update: “We still don’t know how we survived”

last weekend’s deadly tornadoes, Christian Aid Ministries

Candace* and her family are among the thousands affected by last weekend’s deadly tornadoes. She told her story to CAM staff members.

“I have been living in this house for twenty years and never ever had this happen,” Candace said. Her German Shepard dog alerted Candace’s husband of an approaching storm. She and her husband were in their living room and their eleven-month-old grandson in his nursery when the tornado hit with full and sudden fury. Their house has no basement, so Candace and her husband clung to pieces of furniture in their living room.

Terrified that their grandson in the nursery had been killed, Candace’s husband was scared to open the nursery door. He opened it to find that the ceiling had collapsed, raining debris into the room and the crib where their grandson sat. But miraculously, he was unhurt.

last weekend’s deadly tornadoes, Christian Aid Ministries
Candace’s grandson survived unharmed in the crib shown here.

“We still don’t know how we survived,” Candace testified.

Rapid Response work continues

Our Rapid Response teams continue reaching out to victims of the deadly tornadoes with cleanup help in Kentucky and Tennessee. Every day, twenty to thirty Rapid Response volunteers come to each cleanup location and help in the destructive aftermath. Our hope is that this help with draw hearts to the peace and refuge found in Christ.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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Update: Aftermath of deadly tornadoes

Aftermath of deadly tornadoes, Christian Aid Minstries

Rapid Response teams are responding to the aftermath of deadly tornadoes last weekend with cleanup help. We are currently working in two locations in Kentucky and two in Tennessee. Staff members also continue to research needs and opportunities in other areas.

Aftermath of deadly tornadoes, Christian Aid Minstries

An important part of Rapid Response work is to reach out with Christ’s hope in the midst of loss. Hundreds of people affected by these tornadoes face overwhelming questions like, How do I move forward? Their homes and possessions lie in ruins.

Aftermath of deadly tornadoes, Christian Aid Minstries

Other tornado survivors recount the fear they felt as they huddled in their basements and bathtubs, with wind roaring and roofs and walls collapsing around them.

Some people also face the tragic loss of loved ones. At this time, the death toll from the tornadoes exceeds eighty, but the number may climb.

A staff member investigating needs in Kentucky says the destruction is the most widespread damage he has seen in recent years. “It will be a long time before everything is cleaned up,” he said.

Following are several pictures to give you a glimpse of the devastation our staff have encountered.

Aftermath of deadly tornadoes, Christian Aid Minstries