OB Responds to South's Tornado Victims

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SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. - Beginning Tuesday, deadly F4 tornados ripped through several states in the mid-South, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

"We were upstairs and I heard a big roaring sound," said local resident and tornado survivor, Roneisha. "I just grabbed my kids and ran down the steps and as soon as we got down there, -the storm- swept over us."

During the last 48 hours, severe storms and tornados have claimed the lives of at least 55 people making this the deadliest in U.S. history in more than 20 years, according to published reports.

In their wake, storms left homes and businesses torn apart and residents trapped under piles of debris.

Operation Blessing responded early Wednesday morning, partnering with local churches to help supply aid to people in need. Kerosene heaters were distributed to help fight off the bitter cold, where temperatures dropped into the low 30s last night.

OBI is partnering with Cragfont Baptist Church in Castalian Springs, which is about 45 minutes northeast of Nashville. OBI gave a $10,000 donation to aid the church in other relief efforts, including supplying meals to victims and volunteer workers. About 2,200 meals have already been distributed.

OBI teams are also bringing in a rented skidster to assist families with debris removal. "One of the church staff members told us about an elderly lady who is afraid to come out of her home," said Jody Herrington, OBI's director of U.S. disaster relief.

"Her husband died before the storms and now her house is unsafe for her to live in," Herrington added. "Her roof was completely blown off."

The tornados left a path of death that spanned four states: four people killed in Alabama, 13 in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky and 31 in Tennessee.

The storms came so quickly, some residents received little to no warning. Besides pummeled housing and building structures, fires erupted and water damage blanketed existing structures.

Trucks from OBI's Hunger Strike Force are en route to the disaster scene to deliver personal hygiene supplies, diapers, feminine products and other toiletries.

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