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Aiding Kentucky after Tornado Outbreak

Disaster Management teams rally to assess and aid survivors  

The evening of December 11, 2021 held an eerie stillness to it across Kentucky. For nearly 2 days consecutively, an outbreak of tornadoes cleared blocks, crashed against homes, and put communities under arrest. A total of over 65 tornadoes touched down. With over $18 billion dollars in damages, residents have to now face the stark reality that rebuilding will be a cumbersome process. They also have to deal with the emotional toll of losing loved ones and neighbors. The punishing tornadoes claimed the lives of over 90 people. IRUSA is among several humanitarian agencies to deploy to the ground level to render aid.

IRUSA’s Disaster Management Team (DMT) deployed two teams to work in partnership with the American Red Cross (ARC) to complete disaster assessments. ARC has been working feverishly to address the needs of survivors and will be given the ability to spend holiday time with family and loved ones due to IRUSA’s assistance. Our DMT will be playing a major role in shouldering the load. The challenge of properly resettling refugees came into the fold again in Bowling Green, KY.

In the past months up to 400 Afghan refugees were transitioned into the area with approximately 95 of them being in hotel rooms. Interim DMT Manager Abdullah Shawky, stated that, “30 refugee families who had previously been resettled in permanent housing have been displaced due to the storms, and are currently staying in emergency shelters.” 

While walking through the debris field, Abdullah stopped to take pictures. As he looked down, he noticed a prayer rug in the rubble, and nearby a picture frame of Ayat-Al Kursi. Abdullah says, in all of his years of surveying damage, he has never come across anything like this.

Unfortunately, six members of a Bosnian family lost their lives during the storm. IRUSA is working to assess available information regarding this family. The Creekwood neighborhood will also be evaluated for its recovery needs.

Damage in Mayfield, Kentucky on Dec. 11, 2021 after a tornado ripped through the area. (Photo credit: State Senator Whitney Westerfield)

Tariq is part of the Communications & External Relations team at Islamic Relief USA.

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