Kevin Barnes searches the remains of his home on Clayton Avenue in Tupelo, Miss., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. A dangerous storm system that spawned a chain of deadly tornadoes over three days flattened homes and businesses, forced frightened residents in more than half a dozen states to take cover and left tens of thousands in the dark Tuesday. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

Story highlights

Severe weather wreaks havoc across central U.S.

The Red Cross is working at shelters and in areas of devastation

The Salvation Army has launched a tornado relief fund

CNN  — 

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A recent spate of storms ripped across the central and southeastern US causing widespread destruction and multiple deaths. Entire neighborhoods were leveled in the Arkansas towns of Mayflower and Vilonia, with more damage reported in the towns of Louisville and Tupelo, Mississippi and Athens, Alabama - as well as Quapaw, Oklahoma and Baxter Springs, Kansas.

The storm system also brought torrential rain to southeastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. More than a foot of rain has caused severe flooding which has washed out bridges and poured into homes, with many residents requiring rescue.

The Red Cross is active with immediate relief at shelters and in the areas of devastation. You can donate online directly to the Disaster Relief fund or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also make a $10 donation by mobile phone when you text REDCROSS to 90999.

The Salvation Army has disaster response teams and mobile feeding units that are prepared to provide immediate care, food and water. The Salvation Army has launched a specific tornado relief fund. You can also donate $10 by texting STORM to 80888, or by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

Americares response staff have been deployed to affected areas, organizing shipments of emergency aid and medicine for those impacted or displaced by the storms. They are accepting donations to help with their relief effort .

Matthew 25: Ministries’ Disaster Response Team is helping in Mayflower, distributing food, water and personal care items. If you choose to make an online donation, specify “Arkansas Tornado Relief” in the “in honor of” field in the form.

Operation Blessing International has deployed its disaster relief team to Tupelo Mississippi, to help with cleanup efforts. They are also sending bottled water, food and relief supplies to the areas affected in Arkansas and Tennessee. They are accepting donations to their Disaster Relief Fund to help specifically with this effort.

Samaritan’s Purse is helping homeowners remove debris, salvage personal belongings and place tarps. They have deployed Disaster Relief Units to the hard hit towns of Mayflower and Vilonia, Arkansas. They have also sent teams to help in Baxter Springs, Kansas and Louisville, Mississippi. You can help their efforts by donating online.

Save The Children has launched their American Tornado Relief Fund for Children, and their team is on the ground in Mississippi to help children in shelters and the areas affected with child-focused supplies, programs and and care centers. They are also assessing how they can help the children in the other states affected by these storms. You can support this fund online or make a $10 donation by texting TWISTER to 20222.

The United Way of Central Arkansas are also collecting funds and supplies for those affected. If you want to make an online donation, they ask that you specify on the donation form that you want it directed to their Arkansas Tornado Relief Fund.

Worldvision is responding by bringing supplies to affected regions, including food, water, personal hygiene kits and blankets. You can find details of their relief efforts here.

Thus far, effective long range weather forecasts have been credited with saving many lives in this particularly violent storm outbreak, but please be aware of weather updates and stay safe!