After a tornado touched down in the city of  Selma, several community and religious organizations have joined together to help with disaster relief.

The National Weather Service characterized the tornado as a high-end EF-2 with winds measured up to 130 mph in the affected area last Thursday.

Extensive damage occurred in West Selma near West Dallas Avenue and Old Orrville Road before it hit downtown, Selma. In local neighborhoods, the power of the tornado was so forceful that it caused roofs to be lifted off of homes and left communities filled with debris.

Following the storm, satellite images captured by Accuweather, show heavy damage across Selma and adjoining areas.

Setting up shop at Selma High School, the American Red Cross was on hand to help victims with basic necessities and they are still requesting more volunteers to support residents in the city.

The Black Belt Community Foundation, a non-profit organization in Selma, has also been assisting residents with finding shelter, addressing medical and mental health needs, and distributing daily essentials. Also, the foundation is committed to helping rebuild Selma following the city’s cleanup.

 “We are asking for your support and investment in Selma and across Dallas County to provide relief to those impacted by the destruction,” said Daron K. Harris, communication and public relations spokesperson for the Black Belt Community Foundation. “This includes direct services to those in immediate need, data collection, encompasses the process of redevelopment for housing and local businesses, ensuring that local people are able to stay and prosper in their own community without fear of displacement or gentrification. In addition to the direct services and redevelopment, funding is needed to ensure that throughout the process ‘beloved community power building’ is taking place to create solutions rooted and grounded in the needs identified by the people of the community and their unified vision.”

Sen. Rob Stewart, who serves in the state legislature as a representative of Selma, expressed his gratitude for all the organizations that have given their time and resources to aid in relief efforts.

“I’m grateful that the governor moved swiftly and the president as well with disaster declarations,” Stewart shared. “Local officials are on the ground making sure our citizens’ needs are met. This is going to be a long, yet persistent road to recovery.” 

 Although no lives were lost in Selma,  Stewart noted that several communities have suffered extreme devastation and long-term relief efforts are expected for the region.

“We will need support long after the camera crews are gone,” he said.