Tornadoes rip through heartland again: How to help

Storm chasers get close to storm
Storm chasers get close to storm

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Story highlights

  • A new rash of severe weather and tornadoes hit the Midwest Friday night
  • Areas of Oklahoma were affected again, as well as several other states
  • Damage stretches through parts of Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas

Heavy storms and tornadoes once again ripped through the Midwest on Friday night. Already devastated areas of Oklahoma were hit again, and this time the damage spread to neighboring states.

Over a dozen people are reported dead and many more are reported injured after at least 17 tornadoes touched down across the region. By Saturday, more than 210,000 customers were without power in the Midwest -- 89,000 in Missouri, 86,000 in Oklahoma, 31,000 in Illinois, 3,000 in Arkansas, 1,000 in Kansas and 500 in Indiana. The threat is not over as heavy rain continues to fall and raise the threat for flooding, particularly in Missouri just north of St. Louis.

It hasn't even been two weeks since a devastating tornado destroyed much of the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, but because this storm is so soon after the first one, many of the organizations able to help people are already on the ground.

The Red Cross

See dramatic aerials of tornado damage
See dramatic aerials of tornado damage

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The Red Cross of Oklahoma and The Red Cross of St. Louis are already assessing damage and providing emergency care, food and shelters for those affected by this new round of storms. You can help their efforts by donating to the Red Cross online or by texting REDCROSS to 90999. This will automatically charge $10 to your cell phone bill.

If you are outside of the United States and wish to contribute to the efforts of the Red Cross, please visit its international partner, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse deployed a group of staff members to travel from its North Carolina headquarters to Oklahoma with a Disaster Relief Unit right after the first storm hit. They came with a tractor trailer stocked with emergency supplies and equipment. Two groups of volunteers have remained in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and Moore, Oklahoma. They sought shelter through the storm last night and are ready to mobilize and help the newest survivors in need of assistance.

AmeriCares

Global health and disaster relief nonprofit AmeriCares has an emergency response team helping in Oklahoma. It will coordinate aid deliveries and assess the needs of survivors and medical organizations in the area.

Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon, a group of military veterans who respond to disasters, is another group that is already in Oklahoma helping survivors. Members also rode out the storm last night, but they have already emerged to assist in search and rescue efforts.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has also jumped into action. Members have mobilized their canteens throughout the region, providing food, hydration and emotional support to first responders and storm survivors. You can contribute to the Salvation Army by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769), on their website or by texting "STORM" to 80888 to make an automatic $10 donation.

Save the Children

Save the Children is another organization already hard at work in the Moore, Oklahoma, area and is ready to respond to the now widened scope of damage and people in need. Save the Children's efforts focus on the needs of children affected by these tragic storms. They create child-friendly spaces in the affected areas to help maintain a bit of normalcy in times when a child's world has been turned upside down. Text TWISTER to 20222 to donate $10 to Save the Children.