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Hampton Roads disaster relief organizations help tornado victims

Virginia Beach's Operation Blessing is sending resources and team members to help assess the damage.
Credit: Angelo Vargas

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Hampton Roads disaster relief groups are answering the call to help survivors of the deadly tornadoes that hit Kentucky and other states over the weekend.

The charity group Operation Blessing has sent team members with supplies for people in need. 

On Monday, more than 100 disaster relief kits from Operation Blessing were on their way from Chesapeake to Kentucky to help survivors.

“You have N-95 masks in case there’s mold or water damage, some hand sanitizer," said Andrea Coffarelli.

Coffarelli is part of Operation Blessing's U.S. disaster relief team.

“With tornadoes, the warning period, it's truly small and we have to move as soon as it starts," said Coffarelli. 

She said they have a team member in Tennessee already. It was one of the states hit by deadly tornadoes this weekend.

“We’re seeing a lot devastation from just large amounts of debris all the way to homes being completely wiped out," said Coffarelli. 

Team members who left Monday will assist in Kentucky as the state suffered the most damage. 

“So our goal is to alleviate human need and suffering and do it as quickly as possible and bring the people and the community hope and really tangible help and assistance," said Coffarelli. 

Other groups from Hampton Roads are on the ground to help.

Two members of  Virginia Task Force Two's urban search and recovery incident support team are in Kentucky. In addition, members of Mercy Chefs from Portsmouth are there passing out food to families in need.

Coffarelli says Operation Blessing is preparing for a longer recovery effort in the future.

“To conduct operations such as debris clean up or assisting homeowners with salvaging their materials and possessions," said Coffarelli. 

She said the best way for the Hampton Roads community can help is to donate.