April 29, 2013 — The West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion occurred just two days after terrorists detonated a pressure-cooker bomb at the Boston Marathon. The fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people, injured hundreds, and displaced dozens of families whose homes were destroyed. Although the number of injuries, deaths, and property damage caused by the fertilizer plant explosion was greater than the bombings, donations for West total less than $1 million, while more than $26 million was raised for the Boston bombing victims.
“We’ve been greatly overshadowed by the Boston tragedy,” said Dan Ford, head of the McLennan County Salvation Army, “We need help.”
The people of West are in great need of assistance. The Insurance Council of Texas estimates that the property damage alone will cost $100 million. Although some of the losses are insured, it could take some time before insurance companies agree on a payout. The people of West need food, shelter, transportation, employment, medical help, and assistance with rebuilding.
Suggested ways to help the West, Texas recovery effort:
- How you can help West, published by KVUE-ABC.
- West Help Guide, published by the Waco Tribune.
- West, Texas Disaster Response FAQs, published by the American Red Cross.
- Helpful Information for West, Texas, published by the Office of Governor Rick Perry.
According to the City of West, donations of goods pouring into the city have been “overwhelming and more than sufficient.” Although they are extremely grateful for the kindness and willingness of people to help, local authorities are asking for no more donations of unrequested goods because they do not have enough volunteers to sort the goods or store them. Instead, they are asking people to consider making a cash donation to help with the cost of rebuilding, food, transportation, shelter, and medical expenses.
Places accepting donations for West, Texas:
- Texas Disaster Relief Fund, Office of the Governor
- Salvation Army in Austin, Texas
- American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
As part of an $875 million spending bill approved by the Texas state legislature, $2 million in disaster relief will be directed to West, Texas. Despite the tragedy, the House did not approve a $60 million proposal for more training and resources to volunteer firefighting departments around the state, partially because the legislature decided that the measure would have to be funded by programs that help feed low-income children.
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