Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photos of Smithville Tornado Damage

For the last month Darryl and I were working in Columbus, Mississippi, just 45 miles south of the town of Smithville, Mississippi. Population 857.
Damage assessments have determined that 150 homes, 14 businesses and 2 churches were destroyed by the tornado in Smithville. The homes were well-built, of recent construction, but the storm was violent enough that all appliances and plumbing fixtures in the damage path were "shredded or missing." 27 people were killed, and 40 injured. The tornado has been officially rated as an EF5 tornado with estimated winds of 205 mph.
Here are a few pictures I took a week after the tornado hit.

On Saturday May 7th, Darryl and I went up to work in Smithville with Mormon Helping Hands. It was an experience I will never forget. In the Picture below the volunteers are checking in with FEMA.

In the picture below you can see the area where there was a trailer park. I understand that many of the fatalities in Smithville were from the trailer park.
Last count 27 people killed, 40 injured.

Below - One of the two churches that were destroyed.

Our crew clearing and cutting up fallen trees.

The control center for government officials was the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

The building with the flags was the police station.

This is the post office. The sign board is telling residents to pick up their mail in the town of Amory, 10 miles away.

City Hall. The Mayor, his secretary and a clerk walked out of that rubble.

Another view of the post office.

Below is a picture of the other church that was destroyed.

The hand painted sign says...."Looting causes lead poisoning."

We saw two magnificent demonstrations in Smithville. The first is the Power of God. It was evident everywhere we looked in the destructive forces of the winds. How can we, as mere human beings, even begin to think that we can control the heavens and the effects of weather?
The second was the Glory of God manifest in the people of the immediate area and from all over the South, working together regardless of politics, race or religion to help their fellowmen rebuild their lives. One of the churches that was destroyed offered free meals to volunteers. Several other groups would come by in vehicles carry food and water to all who were cleaning up and helping. And everyone was moved to tears by the many selfless acts of kindness in the midst of such devastation.

Our friends, Gene and Arcola Voyles and their daughter Michelle and her children live barely 2 miles from Smithville. The 2 tornados that went through the area went on either side of their farm.

How grateful we are that they were spared.

1 comment:

pamela said...

You guys are really great. What a wonderful thing to do!