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'In Jesus Name': Disaster Relief Teams Offer Immediate Support Amid Tornado Devastation

Harvey Cockrell, left, and his wife Mary Cockrell, look over their neighbors house, Lonnie and Melissa Pierce, who were killed when a semi truck landed on their house during a tornado that hit in Rolling Fork, Miss. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A state of emergency remains in place in Mississippi after a devastating EF-4 tornado left a trail of destruction and death Friday night. The nearly mile-wide twister traveled on the ground for about 60 miles, killing more than two dozen people. 

As authorities and residents assess the damage, disaster relief teams are on the ground helping on a personal level. CBN News spoke with team members from both Operation Blessing and Samaritan's Purse, who have workers providing immediate help to those affected in the region. 

"When we arrived in Rolling Fork, we were struck with how abruptly the path of destruction began. The houses on the outskirts of town were virtually untouched, but once we seemed to cross an invisible line, the destruction got increasingly bad, to a point where there was only piles of debris in the center of town," said Operation Blessing's Bob Burke.

As Operation Blessing teams spread out across the disaster zone, relief supplies are already headed to local church partners. 

"Silver City said their biggest need was hygiene kits, and then we have water, Home Depot buckets, and cleaning supplies in route to Amory," Burke told CBN News.  

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, said much of this region is very poor with many of the victims uninsured. That, he said, is where an organization like his comes in. 

"I think sometimes God puts us in places like this so that we can be the insurance for them. And that's what I mean, being the insurance, God has given us the funds, the resources, to be able to respond like this in a crisis," Graham told CBN News. 

He said Samaritan's Purse teams are in Mississippi in Jesus' name, and they're focused on quite literally being the hands and feet of Christ. 

"Right now we're not preaching. Right now we're just helping people clean up their homes, and cut trees off their houses, if a house is still standing but they lost their roof, we help tarp it so that they don't lose any more of their valuables in their home," Graham said.

As residents continue to dig out and clean up, these organizations pledge to be in the region as long as it takes. 

"The damage is extensive and so this will be a long rebuilding effort. We are eager to work with other organizations and churches to partner to get these people the supplies that they need in a timely fashion," Burke said. 

To donate to Operation Blessing and support their mission to provide relief assistance, click here. If you are interested in receiving updates regarding Operation Blessing's disaster relief efforts, text OBDR to 71777.

Pain and suffering are an inescapable part of life but God promises to use them for our good. Click here to learn more.

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