At least $91,000 has been raised so far to help people affected by the Watford City tornado.
McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karolin Jappe said a local Watford City tornado relief fund will go directly to families affected by the storm.
“The community has just been unbelievably kind,” Jappe said. “We’ll make it through this.”
The tornado that ripped through an RV park early on July 10 killed a newborn baby, injured more than two dozen people and displaced an estimated 200. One woman who was hurt is expected to remain hospitalized in Billings, Mont., for at least another month, Jappe said.
The community is working to raise funds to help people with medical bills, housing expenses and other needs. Some people were able to retrieve belongings after the storm, while others lost everything, Jappe said.
Lutheran Social Services will determine who is eligible to receive tornado relief funds and the money will be sent directly to families through the North Dakota Community Foundation, Jappe said.
Several energy companies were among donors who have made significant donations.
The following banks are accepting donations for the Watford City tornado relief fund: Cornerstone Bank, 701-444-6411, First International Bank & Trust, 701-842-2381, and Dakota West Credit Union, 701-444-6484.
Donations also can be made to the North Dakota Community Foundation at NDCF, P.O. Box 387, Bismarck, ND 58502, or ndcf.net. Specify that the donation is for the Watford City tornado fund.
A recovery team from the American Red Cross Dakotas Region also continues to reach out to people affected by the tornado, said spokeswoman Gretchen Hjelmstad. The agency is providing people financial assistance, offering mental health support and connecting them with other resources, she said.
Donations to the Red Cross do not go directly to the tornado victims, but support ongoing disaster relief efforts in North Dakota, South Dakota and 10 counties in northwest Minnesota.
“Those donations all throughout the year, that makes sure that we can respond in a timely manner,” Hjelmstad said.
The Red Cross had 17 volunteers and seven staff respond to Watford City to help with the county’s emergency shelter and a Multi-Agency Resource Center. The Red Cross is no longer on site, but continues to reach out to people they were unable to meet with last week, Hjelmstad said.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe account for the family of the 1-week-old baby who died has raised more than $27,000 as of Tuesday.