Relief efforts have begun for Van, Texas, now declared a state of disaster by Gov. Greg Abbott after an EF-3 tornado ripped through the small town during the night on May 10, 2015.
The National Weather Service estimates the funnel cloud reached a quarter mile wide and the max wind speed reached 135-140 mph. Smith County Emergency Management officials announced earlier that 30% of the city has been damaged, including destruction of 100 homes and 550 more without power according to Oncor. So far, only two fatalities reported and three persons remain unaccounted for.
As the skies brightened on May 11, businesses and organizations have begun to help the victims of the tornado through various means.
The American Red Cross shelter has been established at First United Methodist Church. The organization suggests people please use the Safe and Well website to connect with family and loved ones.
Simply Bertie’s in Lindale is providing free meals to Van residents with I.D.
Broadway Square is partnering with Dixie Volunteer Fire Department to support those affected by the tornado in Van, TX. Tyler-area residents are encouraged to donate supplies such as bottled water, non-perishable foods, blankets, clothing, and toiletries through the weekend. Donations will be accepted at Guest Services and the Management Offices at Broadway Square Mall during mall hours.
Other drop-off locations for relief items for Van residents include the Grand Saline Police Department, Van Community Ministries located at 201 South Maple Street in Van, and the Assembly of God located at 401 North Maple Street, Nova Medical Center located at 747 South Beckham in Tyler, and Coupe’s Cafe and Game Room located at 220 North Cedar Street in Van.
School supplies can be dropped off at Vista Academy in Tyler, Texas.
Residents with lost or missing pets can begin searching for them by visiting the Facebook page titled Van Texas Tornado – Pets and Animals Lost, set up by Nicholas’ Pet Haven, and post a picture of the animal or pet. NPH and Team Spano Animal Rescue are working with veterinarian Dr. Gary Spence, of Tyler, to treat injured animals. The pets found will remain in the Tyler area, staying at emergency foster homes, and they need volunteers. All of the pets that are found will be housed in Tyler-area homes and the organization is need of emergency foster homes. If you think your pet may be lost, or would like to foster a rescued animal, contact the organization at 903-312-7585.