Columbus, Ms Tornado Damage

Cleanup is beginning in Columbus, Mississippi, after an EF3 tornado barrelled through the East Mississippi town on Feb. 23, 2019.

Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo, Mississippi, was killed after a building collapsed on top of her and three other people. While Columbus residents are mourning her loss, they are also grateful that they are alive and that the devastation isn’t any worse.

“God is good that he brought us through it,” said Juanita Houston, whose home was damaged by the tornado. “Look at all the devastation. The transformer is in our yard and the tree brought it down and all the fences.”

Emergency officials from around the state of Mississippi gathered in Columbus this morning to map out a plan for the impacted areas.

“One of the things we would ask is that if you don’t have any business in the damaged neighborhoods, then please go home,” Chief Frederick Shelton of the Columbus Police Department said. “We don’t need you out there. We don’t need you getting in the way.”

In Columbus, everyone in the community is pitching in and showing love around every corner. Residents are helping one another out and revealing why Columbus is called “the Friendly City.”

“We are just walking around getting the names and sizes of any children that might have lost their school uniforms during the storm so we can replace those,” Columbus Benefit committee Kameron Corrothers said.

“Taking trees down, piling them by the streets,” Evan Ratzlaff with Christian Disaster Relief Inc. said. “At least making the streets and yards somewhat accessible. There’s nothing you see here, no one getting paid.”

“Today we are just out here in the community giving out pizza, giving out some coffee,” Will Sanders, an employee at C Spire Wireless, said. “We have charging stations for people to charge their phones. We still got a bunch of people without power.”

Columbus residents have been out and about loving on one another and stressing how thankful they are for each act of kindness shown to them thus far.

“We thank them from the bottom of our heart,” Houston said. “Because it’s got to be God that brought them in here to do this. Everything happens for a reason and that’s to bring us all closer together.”

Officials said there are still nearly 1,000 people without power. If you need help because of the storm, here is a list of available resources:

Emergency shelters are available at:

  • The Townsend Center
  • Columbus Housing Authority Centers at the Jesse Carter Center on 12th Avenue North
  • The MLK Center.

The American Red Cross has mobile food units set up on:

  • 15th Street and 7th Avenue North
  • 20th Street North and 7th Avenue North
  • Railroad Street and 16th Street North
  • 17th, 18th and 19th Street North
  • Moss Street, Shady Street, Waterworks Road and Conway Drive

If you would like to help, you can sign up for Emergency Services Assitance at the Townsend Center at 826 15th St. South. You can also drop off hygiene items, cleaning supplies and water at 1605 Main St. If you would like to donate online to help with recovery efforts, please donate to their local Red Cross.

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