It has been more than a week since the multiple tornadoes hit Oklahoma and adjacent states. The destruction in the City of Moore is indeed heart wrenching. But the impacts of tornadoes on May 19 and 20 around Oklahoma City are much more widespread. The website of the State of Oklahoma has very helpful maps and information about the tornadoes: http://www.ok.gov/okstrong/Impact_Maps/index.html.
Let us not forget that just a few nights prior, on May 15, a series of tornadoes devastated Granbury, Texas, 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth. The powerful storms left six dead and nearly 120 homes destroyed. Some of these homes were built by Habitat for Humanity.
The nature of media cycle and perhaps the nature of human attention always make us focus on high profile disasters and their developments within a short period of time afterward. Very soon, the tornadoes in May will become distant memories in our collective memory. And yet, for the thousands of individuals and families in Oklahoma, Texas and other states impacted by the string of tornadoes in May, the recovery process has just begun.
In the last few months, I have the opportunity to visit the long term recovery work of Lutheran Disaster Response in various states for individuals and families impacted by events that are no longer on the nightly network news – the tornadoes in Alabama in 2011 and 2012, the flood in Duluth in 2012, Hurricanes Lee and Irene in 2011,….. The one thing I have heard from the impacted residents as well as workers who assist them is “We are forgotten!”
Let us continue to keep ALL who are working very hard to put their lives together after disasters in our prayers. May God’s strengths, comfort and hope be with them through the many peaks and valleys in their recovery process. Let us work hard together so that they will not be forgotten!
To see a listing of the places where Lutheran Disaster Response is actively responding to a disaster, please check out our website where you will see where we still have volunteer opportunities.
Lutheran Disaster Response webpage: www.elca.org/disaster and click on the volunteer button.
Donation Webpage: https://community.elca.org/page.aspx?pid=840