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Tropical Storm Isaias passed through Virginia on Monday night and Tuesday (Aug. 3-4) and brought with it rain and tornados.

There has been confirmed an ESF2 Tornado that did significant damage to the James River District area of Carrolton and Suffolk. Emergency Management is still in control of the areas and doing damage assessments. This will take several days.

Another hard hit area is in the Rappahannock River District. This area, too, is under damage assessment.

The conference Disaster Response Coordinator, the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz (vacdrt1@gmail.com), is working and coordinating with Emergency Management officials as well as the District Disaster Coordinators in the affected areas. A coordinated response and recovery effort with other Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) member agencies will begin as soon as it is safe to do so and assessment information is received from the Emergency Management agencies.

At this time, the best response Virginia United Methodists can provide is to “be the church.” Reach out to your neighbors and help provide meals, shelter, water etc.

A “Just In Time” UMCOR training titled Connecting Neighbors that each church can use to see how best to help their local church communities is available on the conference website at https://vaumc.org/disasterresponse/

The Rev. R. Kirk Culpepper added, “If you are in the districts hit, please coordinate with the individual District Disaster Coordinators to see what they need. If you are outside of those districts, please do not self-deploy and wait until they reach out for help beyond their districts or to the Virginia Conference Disaster Coordinator.” Culpepper is the pastor of Community-St. Mark Charge, Elizabeth River District, and the conference Early Response Team (ERT) coordinator. He can be reached at kirkculpepper@vaumc.org.

Please also remember that any response, relief, and recovery effort costs money. Please consider a donation to the VAUMC Advance Special #5037 Disaster Response to assist in these efforts. Remittances for the Treasurer’s Office should be mailed to P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058.

The Rev. Shaun Smith shared the following pictures from the Courtland, Va., that was also struck by a tornado. Smith is the pastor of Greensville and Fort Grove United Methodist churches, and the construction manager for the James River District.