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Disaster Relief on-site after deadly Iowa tornado

Disaster Relief personnel from Missouri and Iowa are responding to tornado destruction in Greenfield, Iowa, where at least four people were killed May 21. Photo courtesy of Gared Schaffer


GREENFIELD, Iowa (BP) — Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are working alongside peers in Iowa to help residents recovering from an EF-3 tornado that destroyed sections of this city May 21. It was among a tornado outbreak that ultimately killed at least five people and injured at least 35.

The size estimate of the Greenfield tornado could increase as National Weather Service investigators continue to survey damage, reported The Weather Channel.

The storms were fast and mostly hit rural areas, said Iowa Disaster Relief director Gared Schaffer.

“We assessed on the evening it happened,” he added. “Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief has been here and brought plastic tubs to give people so they can gather their belongings.”

Disaster Relief volunteers are also helping to tarp homes alongside feeding and chaplaincy units.

There are still areas where volunteers aren’t allowed, Schaffer said. Disaster Relief is working alongside other community members and organizations in the effort while being stationed at Crest Baptist Church in Creston, about 23 miles south.

The destruction of the Greenfield storm is the kind where numerous structures won’t be repaired, but rather rebuilt from the ground up, Schaffer said.

“Stuff is scattered for miles. We started feeding people last night and passing out the tubs,” he said.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said four people were killed in the Greenfield area with another person dying about 25 miles away after her car was blown off the road by a twister.

Satellite imagery of the Greenfield tornado indicates a path of destruction for some 40 miles, including straight through the town square.