Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) have deployed to northeast Arkansas and Mayfield, Kentucky, alongside Samaritan’s Purse disaster response teams following the string of deadly tornadoes that ripped through the South and Midwest the evening of Dec. 10.
“We are deeply saddened by the significant loss of life as a result of these tornadoes,” said Josh Holland, assistant director of the BG-RRT. “We are praying for all of those who lost friends and loved ones and also for the large number of people who suffered damage to their home and property. Our crisis-trained chaplains will be there to listen and pray with people, and let them know that God is with them and loves them, even during this difficult time.”
According to ABC News, there were at least 44 tornadoes reported across Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio and Alabama. As a result, at least 88 people in five states were killed—74 in Kentucky; six in Illinois; four in Tennessee; two in Arkansas and two in Missouri. Victims’ ages range from a 2-month-old girl in Kentucky to a 94-year-old man in Arkansas.
Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett warned that recovery efforts will extend well into the new year and beyond.
“This is not going to be a week or a month operation, folks,” he said. “This will go on for years to come. This is a massive event.”
As of Tuesday morning, more than 24,000 Kentuckians were still without power.
Mayfield, Kentucky, home to 10,000, suffered some of the worst damage.
“Our infrastructure is so damaged,” said Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan. “We have no running water. Our water tower was lost. Our wastewater management was lost, and there’s no natural gas to the city. So we have nothing to rely on there. So that is purely survival at this point for so many of our people.”
Franklin Graham has called for prayer for survivors—especially those who have lost loved ones.
“These families have lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,” he said. “Buildings can be replaced or repaired, but lives are irreplaceable, and we need to pray for the grieving.”
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