Residents of the Dallas metro area are spending the first days of 2016 attempting to rebuild their lives after devastating tornadoes tore through the area just days after Christmas, killing 11 and damaging or destroying thousands of homes.
More than 1,800 homes and buildings in North Texas were damaged. In Rowlett, city officials said nearly 150 homes were totally destroyed, among 854 which received some damage.
Garland streets have been cleared enough to access every house. As of earlier this week, electrical service was restored to most of the 4,000 who lost electricity.
HOPE worldwide recovery efforts are already underway. Walter Thomas, HOPE worldwide Chapter Director for the Dallas/Fort Worth region, said, “All brothers and sisters are accounted for and their homes intact. We’ve been calling and visiting church members for needs...We are focusing on helping specific families that are related to members that were hit. Cities are letting people in to clean up."
Over 250 HOPE worldwide volunteers from all areas of Texas and Oklahoma City helped with cleanup in Garland. Walt said, “the work is physically and emotionally hard and everyone was tired and were taken aback by all the destruction.”
The HOPE worldwide Disaster Services Team and local Chapters are working alongside our national partners to deliver the optimum level of services available to the residents of Texas recovering from this tragic event. Operation Blessing is one of the partners we are currently active with in our recovery efforts in Garland and Rowlett. We have had a great working relationship with them since our joint tornado recovery efforts in Oklahoma in 2013.
The American Red Cross is maintaining at least four shelters in the towns of Garland and Rowlett. The Garland Office of Emergency Management has set up a tornado relief page on Recovers.org to help coordinate relief, volunteer and donation efforts.