A powerful F4 tornado blew through Southern Indiana on March 4, leaving a path of destruction all the way to Ohio. Especially hard hit were the towns of Henryville and Marysville, although many small communities and outlying areas were seriously damaged as well.
Piles of twisted cars and unrecognizable structures are immediately visible as one drives on the road into Henryville. Some homes have been completely ripped from their foundations, belongings scattered across fields and stuck in trees.
High school groups, church groups, disaster relief organizations and even prison work crews were on the scene Saturday in both Henryville and Marysville to help with cleanup. The sound of pounding hammers re-securing rooftops could be heard in the air. Power has been restored in some areas and utility trucks were busy laying cable in others. Cleanup efforts will continue throughout the summer before any hopes of rebuilding can occur. Many estimate that this will take years.
American flags are seen frequently as one walks the small town streets, posted in front of someone's half standing home almost in defiance. There is much work ahead for these Indiana communities; speaking to residents, one senses that the tragedy has been realized, and now it is the time to re-begin.
Tornado - One Week Later (Slideshow)
Photojournalist Mike Allee spent the weekend in Southern Indiana documenting the response effort.
The American Red Cross is also collecting donations for its tornado relief efforts.
Aside from online collections, interested donors can also call (800) RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
United Way: To make a cash donation or to volunteer as an individual or group, please call the United Way Volunteer Service at 812-287-0519 or visit them in person at 723 Spring Street, Jeffersonville, Indiana. You may also click this link: and click the appropriate tab to volunteer or donate cash.
Another comprehensive list of legitimate locations to make donations can be found at this Indiana Department of Homeland Security link.
The Indiana State Police and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security caution Hoosiers that while legitimate sources may make door-to-door collections, "more often than not, money given to door-to-door collectors is often diverted to personal gain and does not go to the stated cause. Know before you donate!"