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Mid-Michigan tornado relief underway

Trees downed in a storm

Seventy-four homes and some businesses in Shiawassee and Genesee counties were damaged by tornadoes that touched down on March 14.


DAN O’MALLEY

Disaster Relief Coordinator, Michigan Conference

The National Weather service has confirmed that four tornadoes touched down on Thursday evening, March 14, 2019, resulting in 18 miles of damage across two counties in mid-Michigan.

The first tornado touched down southeast of Corunna in Shiawassee County with limited damage. The second tornado hit between Bancroft and Vernon, leaving significant damage to businesses, farmland and homes. The third tornado struck south-southeast of Flushing in Genesee County with minimal damage. The forth touched down northeast of Flint in Genesee County causing limited damage in the Camelot Villa Mobile Home Park.

Over all, at least 74 homes were damaged, 20 of which were determined to be destroyed. Additional harm was done to businesses, RVs and two mobile homes. 

The Revs Jerry DeVine and John Hice, superintendents of the Mid-Michigan and East Winds districts, contacted pastors in the region. They verified safety of pastors and parishioners and inquired about damages to any churches and parsonages. 

Members of the Michigan Conference Disaster Response Team went on site to view damages to homes and businesses in the communities. The team worked in close communication with Michigan Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MIVOAD) and Shiawassee and Genesee County Emergency Managers to determine impact and allowed responses.

As of Monday, March 18 the Red Cross in Shiawassee County is coordinating family needs and leading case management. Crisis Cleanup 211 is up and running for residents to call in to register their unmet needs.

The Rev. Aaron Kesson, pastor of the Durand First United Methodist Church, has a Hospitality and Respite Center set up at the church café to support first responders and volunteers for this week. Volunteers from Grand Rapids First UMC and Brighton First UMC have contacted the Shiawassee help center and will be sending volunteers on Wednesday, March 20 to help with the cleanup.

The Michigan Conference Disaster Response Team will convene on Monday, March 25, to review updates and determine next steps for Michigan United Methodists to support the recovery process.

Please keep those affected by the storm in your prayers as you gather on Sunday morning.

Donations for the tornado response may be sent to the Conference Treasurer, 1161 East Clark Road, Suite 212, DeWitt, MI 48829. Designate contributions for Michigan Area Disaster Response account 4407.

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