Tornadoes

As Missouri Reels from Deadly Tornadoes, Extreme Weather Threatens Region

Emergency medical shipments support local response.

Parts of Jefferson City, Missouri, were seriously damaged by tornadoes that swept through the area this week. (Photo courtesy of the Missouri Department of Public Safety)
Parts of Jefferson City, Missouri, were seriously damaged by tornadoes that swept through the area this week. (Photo courtesy of the Missouri Department of Public Safety)

Tornadoes ripped through southwest Missouri overnight, leaving three people dead in their wake. The midnight tornadoes, part of a larger band of storms in the Midwest, also left at least 20 people injured and caused significant damage in Jefferson City, Missouri’s capital.

Officials warned that the death toll may rise as emergency responders search for survivors amid destroyed and unstable buildings.

The region isn’t out of danger yet. Tornadoes have been forming in the Midwest since Monday, and weather forecasters cautioned that parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas remain at risk from violent storms, which can form with little notice.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Direct Relief offered assistance to 105 health facilities across Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

On Thursday, emergency medical shipments departed Direct Relief’s warehouse at the request of the National Association of Christian Churches, a group responding to storm-impacted communities in Texas and Missouri. Wound care items, protective gear, and personal care products for displaced residents were contained in the shipment.

A Direct Relief staff member loads supplies, including wound care items, protective gear, and personal care products, for transport on May 23, 2019. The supplies were bound to tornado-affected communities in Missouri. (Talya Meyers/Direct Relief)
A Direct Relief staff member loads supplies, including wound care items, protective gear, and personal care products, for transport on May 23, 2019. The supplies were bound to tornado-affected communities in Missouri. (Talya Meyers/Direct Relief)

Direct Relief’s diverse medical inventory can support acute storm-related injuries and illnesses, as well as fill the deficits created by displacement. In addition, the organization’s supplies address chronic health conditions. If medicines needed to manage such conditions are damaged or left behind in an evacuation, a chronic illness can escalate rapidly into an acute medical crisis.

Direct Relief will continue to monitor the situation and stands ready to mobilize additional support if needed.

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