Harveyville UMC was destroyed by a tornado Feb. 28, 2012. (photo by Julie Pohl)
By Susan Cooper, Kansas Area communications associate director
An EF-2 tornado ripped through Harveyville the evening of Feb. 28, causing extensive damage to the community and destroying the Harveyville United Methodist Church building.
One person died, and at least eleven people have been reported injured in the small community, which is approximately 35 miles southwest of Topeka. Governor Sam Brownback has declared a state of emergency in Wabaunsee County, where Harveyville is located.
Julie Pohl, disaster-response coordinator for the Kansas East Conference, is on site assessing the situation.
“There’s a four-block area that was heavily damaged, which is about 40 to 60 percent of the town,” Pohl said.
She reported that the school and city hall were not damaged by the storm.
“The church was the only business-type building affected,” Pohl said.
Church pastor Dennis Irwin lives in his own residence, which was not damaged by the storm. However, the parsonage, which is rented out, was severely damaged.
Pohl said trained volunteers from United Methodist Church of the Resurrection were in Harveyville with a skid loader and chainsaws.
The Flint Hills District office has issued a request for prayers for Harveyville residents. Flint Hills District Superintendent Rev. Howard Johnson suggests congregations begin to ask for volunteers to serve on work teams as response plans develop.
“Resources will be available from the Kansas Area Disaster Response Fund to help the recovery process,” said Rev. Gary Beach, Kansas Area treasurer and assistant to the bishop.
Donations to the Kansas Area Disaster Response Fund, which helps people in Kansas affected by disaster, may be made online.
The storm system also caused damage in southeast Kansas.
Jane Reeves, Parsons District administrative assistant, reported Cherryvale UMC had damaged siding and a broken window and College Heights UMC in Pittsburg has roof damage.
A photo gallery of pictures of the Harveyville damage will be updated as new photos are available.
Several news outlets have storm coverage and video of the damage in Harveyville, including: