Tornado FAQ

Tornado Related Damages, Fall 2016

Frequently Asked Questions


What happened? 

On September 8th, a tornado formed in the Ionian Sea and made landfall at Ionian Village, the home of the Archdiocesan Summer Camp in Greece, inflicting massive damage upon the camp. 


Was anyone injured?

Thankfully, no one was injured.  The year-round staff that maintain the camp throughout the winter were on campus during the storm. While they were shaken by the enormity of the storm, they were able to find shelter and were not physically injured. The summer camp sessions had concluded in August so no campers or summer staff members were present.


What was damaged? 

Unfortunately, the damage to the camp is substantial. While all of the buildings are still standing after the storm, many of them sustained significant exterior damage as trees and debris were thrown around by the tornado. The buildings are pretty much all that is left standing though. Almost everything else, from air conditioners and water heaters to doors and windows, suffered a major degree of damage. Also devastating was that over 600 trees were either ripped from the ground or broken apart due to the heavy winds, effectively eliminating almost every tree on the campus


Are the cabins and other buildings structurally stable? 

At this time, it appears that the structures are stable. Immediately following the storm, we found that large trees fell onto 10 buildings across camp. Other buildings were impossible to reach as trees had fallen around them. Currently, teams are working to remove those trees and evaluate the structural integrity of the buildings underneath. While exterior repairs will need to be made to almost every building, there appears to be no major structural damage to the cabins or other buildings at this time. 


It just looks like a lot of trees fell, is it really that bad?

Well, yes. It really is that bad. When over 600 massive pine trees fall, they don’t just land on the ground, they cause chaos. One of the consequences of the trees falling is that much of the infrastructure of the camp was severely damaged. For example, when the trees fell, they ripped up their roots with them, which over the past 46 years had grown in and around the plumbing and electrical systems of the camp. The plumbing and electrical systems are now compromised in several major places throughout the camp and will require a massive operation to replace. Likewise, almost all of the walkways and driveways throughout camp were either ripped up by roots or smashed by falling trees. 


In addition, as mentioned above, almost everything besides the actual buildings was damaged and will require either replacement or major repair. This list includes but is not limited to the exterior of the Chapel and the cross on top of the dome, the driveways and walkways, the flagpole, the entire housing complex for our animals, the lighting system throughout the camp as well as the large lights at the soccer field, the basketball court and the amphitheater, 20 air conditioning units, solar water heating units, roofing in several different exterior covered spaces, the glass fence at the pool, windows and screens throughout the camp, the boardwalks leading to the animals and the beach, the fence that encloses the camp, several of the industrial clotheslines for campers and staff use, pergolas in front of cabins and bungalows, cabana skeletons at the pool, and the technology for our internet and telephonic communications systems. Further, the entire camp will need to be re-landscaped not only to restore Ionian Village to its former beauty, but on a practical note, to provide necessary shade from the hot Greek sun for our campers.


What’s the total estimate to repair the camp?

The current total estimate to repair and renew Ionian Village is $1,500,000.


This cost is broken down into three stages of repair and renewal:

(1) Approximately $200,000 to clear the camp of trees and debris and to demolish and remove anything that is beyond repair

(2) Approximately $800,000 to repair and replace all of the damaged buildings and infrastructure across camp

(3) Approximately $400,000 to renew the camp. This stage includes installing a new generator for the camp to ensure that we don’t lose power in the future either during rolling blackouts or in the case of another emergency. This also includes the cost of designing, planning and re-landscaping the entire 35-acre property.


As the complete extent of the damages is still being assessed, we have also built in a cushion in order to have funds available for additional repairs and for increased expenses due to the shortened time frame.


Do we have insurance?

The Archdiocese and Ionian Village do have insurance for the camp with a Greek insurance company. Both officials from the camp and our lawyers in Greece have been in touch with the insurance company and are doing all we can to secure funds to help relieve part of the financial burden on the Archdiocese and the faithful.


Won't the insurance cover all of the damage?

As with any natural disaster, it's always uncertain what the insurance company will and will not cover. We already know that certain large costs, such as the costs of clearing the camp of trees and debris and of re-landscaping the camp will not be covered. Beyond that, we will meticulously go over each aspect of damage individually with the insurance company to make their assessment as fair and as thorough as possible.


What is the timeline for work in order to be ready for Summer 2017?

Work has already begun at the camp to clear the camp of the over 600 trees that fell or were damaged as a result of the tornado. This process will continue until about the middle of November at which time the repairing and re-landscaping of the camp will begin. We will continue to work steadily throughout the winter in order to ensure that the camp is fully operational by June.


Wow! I’m ready to help! How do I donate?

Please donate below or send a check to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese marked for the "Ionian Village Rebuilding Fund." Each and every dollar helps, and the more people that join this effort, the sooner we can get to work and ensure that Ionian Village continues for years to come!



Thank you for your support and love! If you have any further questions regarding the Ionian Village rebuilding process or our #RenewIV fundraising campaign, please feel free to contact our office at 212-570-3536 or [email protected].