(Alexandria, VA)—Islamic Relief USA’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) mobilized to assist with recovery efforts in Arkansas, which has been devastated by a tornado nearly a half mile wide that hit the state and surrounding areas starting April 27.

“This is the worst tornado the United States has seen in the last six months,” said Derrick Lea, IRUSA’s DART Director, reporting from the ground in Arkansas today. “We haven’t seen devastation like this since the tornadoes we responded to in Oklahoma last year. We are impressed with the resilience of the communities here who have been affected.”

Severe storms were reported in Oklahoma and Arkansas, according to the National Weather Service. Hardest hit is Arkansas, where a severe tornado leveled entire neighborhoods. At present, 16 deaths have been confirmed and over one hundred injuries have been reported, with tens of thousands of people affected. Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) has been asked to again support the American Red Cross in the emergency response efforts.

“Our hearts are with those affected by this devastating storm,” said Anwar Khan, IRUSA’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our DART team has responded by providing urgent emergency relief, and we are calling upon our community members to support them by donating to our DART fund, and sending messages of support to our neighbors whose lives have been affected.”

IRUSA has trained approximately 1,200 DART members to date around the United States, in Disaster Assessment and First Aid/CPR. Shelter Fundamental certified personnel will be needed to support the community during the recovery phase. DART has again partnered with the American Red Cross and will work in concert with FEMA and other members of the Disaster Response Community locally. Planned outputs include:

  • Utilizing approximately 15 trained and certified volunteers.
  • Supporting the local community affected by the devastating tornadoes in the state by conducting disaster assessments, working in shelters, and responding to other needs as they arise
  • Assisting the survivors of the tornadoes in the communities in the state of Arkansas
  • Representing the positive work that is being done in preparedness to support communities in crisis
  • Continue fostering and strengthening DART’s status as a leading disaster relief organization assisting those experiencing disasters

For more information about the DART team, please visit IRUSA.org.


Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves. Its programs benefit millions of people each year around the world, including in the United States.

Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Michelle Strucke

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