Disaster Relief volunteers on alert after tornadoes destroy parts of central, southern Illinois

Meredith Flynn —  November 17, 2013
From video posted on Pastor Joshua Monda's Facebook page

From video posted on Pastor Joshua Monda’s Facebook page

UPDATE: WLS-TV in Chicago is reporting officials have confirmed six storm-related deaths: one in Washington, three in Massac County in extreme southern Illinois, and two in Washington County, located 50 miles southeast of St. Louis. The post below originally attributed the two fatalities in Washington County to Washington, Ill.

BREAKING NEWS | Tornadoes touched down Sunday in several central Illinois communities, including an especially destructive storm in Washington, 11 miles east of Peoria.

Joshua Monda, pastor of First Baptist Church in Washington, was meeting with his church for Sunday morning services when the tornado touched down. After the storm, Monda posted updates on his Facebook page. “Church, we have to come together to care for our community and our church people,” he wrote. He also posted video of the destruction near his church; at this time, there is no known damage to the church building.

Storms also damaged parts of East Peoria, Pekin, and Roanoke, as well as other communities in the Peoria area. Brookport, Ill., on the Illinois/Kentucky border, also experienced a destructive tornado Sunday. First Baptist Church there is serving as a triage center for those injured in the storm, reports The Paducah Sun newspaper.

Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are on alert for response this week, and leaders are currently assessing the damage. Pray for the communities affected by storms, for pastors and churches ministering to their neighbors, and for volunteers who will serve this week.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.