World Vision Raises US Tornado Response Appeal to $5 Million to Meet Additional Needs in Missouri, Minnesota

May 23, 2011, 17:44 ET from World Vision U.S.

-- Disaster Response Director arriving in Joplin, MO today to assess tornado damage

-- World Vision's Twin City staff assessing damage from N. Minneapolis tornado

-- Fundraising appeal raised from $3 million to $5 million for tornado response: Text TORNADO to 20222

DALLAS, May 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- World Vision's disaster response director has deployed to southern Missouri to assess the damage after a massive tornado plowed through the city of Joplin on Sunday evening leaving thousands without homes.

"Out of my 14 years doing disaster response, I have never ever seen a weather season in the United States that is this severe where natural disasters keep coming and we haven't even started hurricane season," said Phyllis Freeman, World Vision's domestic emergency response director and a veteran of the agency's Hurricane Katrina response.  "It is heartbreaking to see yet another tornado devastate an entire community and to see even more children left homeless."

World Vision U.S. has raised its tornado fundraising appeal from its original $3 million goal, set in April after tornadoes ripped through parts of Alabama, to $5 million to help survivors impacted now in Joplin as well.  Freeman says her team will be providing hygiene kits and basic cleaning supplies to tornado survivors over the next several weeks.

"We are going to be assessing the most urgent needs among children and families who have lost so much," said Freeman. "But we also know that very quickly needs will turn to clean up essentials like rakes, work gloves and hard hats, and World Vision intends to stand by these families as they move into the recovery phase."

World Vision's Twin Cities' staff is also assessing damage from a separate tornado that devastated part of N. Minneapolis on Sunday.

"The tornado hit one of the worst possible parts of our city in an area World Vision is already serving," said Chris Brooks, World Vision's Twin Cities Field Site Director. "These families were already distressed and had very little resources. We drove through the tornado damaged areas today to see how we can help and were heartbroken to see children standing in debris."

World Vision response teams are also continuing relief work in Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama. In Tuscaloosa, AL, World Vision has served 4,233 tornado survivors including 1,896 children since April 27th.  Freeman says her team is also closely monitoring the flooding situation along the Mississippi River and the possibility of more tornadoes forecasted to strike in Oklahoma this week.  World Vision's new domestic disaster headquarters is based in North Texas and provides high-quality resources nationwide to partners in areas impacted by disaster situations.  The public can help by visiting, calling (888) 56-CHILD (24453), or by giving a $10 donation by texting TORNADO to 20222.

SOURCE World Vision U.S.