Deadly tornadoes struck central Tennessee on March 2 that claimed 24 lives, injured others, and destroyed many homes and businesses. The SBC of Virginia is ready to respond with volunteers if asked to go. In the meantime, prayers are needed for the families impacted and those responding to the needs. Financial contributions are welcome and 100% of those will go directly to those impacted by the storm.
The following is what the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board shared.
(Updated 11:50 am) Even as damage is being assessed, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) teams are responding in the wake of a devastating EF 3 tornado that ripped through Nashville and traveled across Middle Tennessee as far as Cookeville today in the early morning hours, killing at least 22.
“We have local teams that have already gotten out and are trying to help people in Nashville and the surrounding area,” said Wes Jones, “Meanwhile we are working with emergency management services to better understand where we can deploy resources.”
Jones said that several people have contacted the TBDR offices asking how they can help. He said team callouts will be coming soon, but right now the best way to help in the effort is financially.
The death toll has jumped to 22 as of 11:30 am Central, with 16 of those deaths reported in Putnam Country. Davidson, Wilson and Benton Counties are also reporting deaths. At least one church staff member at a Tennessee Baptist church is among that total, with more details regarding that death coming in an update.
Damage in Nashville is extensive, with authorities reporting 48 buildings collapsed, 156 people were transported to area hospitals and more than 400 calls were made to emergency services. Both the Nashville and Putnam County Fire Departments are going door to door searching for survivors and victims. Authorities are saying the EF 3 tornado had winds of between in excess of 150 mph.
Several Tennessee Baptist churches were damaged including:
- The Church at Lockland Springs, Nashville
- First Baptist Church, Mt. Juliet
- Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Cookeville
- Green Hill Church, Mt. Juliet
- Fairview Church, Lebanon
- West Hills Baptist Church, Lebanon
- The Nashville Baptist Association office sustained damage as the tornado passed in its immediate area.
Governor Bill Lee said in his press conference this morning that this was a Level 3 emergency and federal help is also being sought to assist in the aftermath.
“This is a rapidly developing situation and we will continue to post updates as more information is made available,” Jones said.