Oklahoma Tornadoes – Update & Photos from the Ground

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meeting fema staff at disaster recovery center
Moore, Okla., May 22, 2013 -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, center, and FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, left visit a Disaster Recovery Center that is set up to help residents impacted by the recent tornado that swept through the area on May 20, 2013.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and communities affected by the tornadoes in Central Oklahoma.  We continue to coordinate the federal response efforts in supporting our state, local, and tribal partners on the ground.  Here are a few quick updates on what’s happening now:

  • We’re encouraging those impacted by the storms to apply for FEMA assistance at disasterassistance.gov on their computer or phone, or by calling 800-621-3362.  So far, over 2,200 Oklahomans have applied for disaster assistance.
  • Three Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams are on the ground helping survivors register for FEMA assistance.  These teams are using internet-enabled tablets to register people as quickly as possible, as well as to record any unmet needs that affected individuals or communities are experiencing.
  • Two disaster recovery centers are open near damaged areas so those affected by the tornadoes can speak face-to-face to staff from FEMA and the state.  At the centers, staff answer questions about the disaster assistance process or what help may be available. 

In addition to the items above, more than 127,000 liters of water and nearly 30,000 meals have been delivered to the state at a Federal Staging Area in Oklahoma City in support of the local response efforts.  There are many other actions our federal, state, local, and tribal partners are taking and you can find the latest at fema.gov/OKtornadoes.

We’ve seen an outpouring of support for those impacted by the deadly storms, so if you’re outside of the impacted area and are looking for ways to help those that have been affected, check out fema.gov/howtohelp.  It has information on donating and volunteering responsibly – by doing things like donating only through trusted organizations, volunteering through established channels, and sending cash (not goods) to organizations providing relief. 

As we often say at FEMA, responding to emergencies takes a team effort.  Minutes after the tornadoes struck, this team moved into action, including first responders, federal, state, local, and tribal governments, first responders, non-profit organizations, volunteer groups, and members of the public.  There have been a lot of stories of heroism amidst this tragic tornado, so I wanted to share a few visuals and updates from how the emergency management team is helping on the ground. 

Texas Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue

rescuers pull out dog in cage
While conducting a rubble pile search yesterday, Squad 2 members came across a void space with two dogs in a crate. After freeing the dogs, the crew carried them down the pile to safety. (Photo credit: Texas Task Force One)


Nebraska Task Force 1

rescuers remove debris
Moore, Okla., May 22, 2013 --Federal Urban Search and Rescue Team Nebraska Task Force 1 work with local fire fighters in searching a ravine for potential survivors of the recent tornado. A tornado destroyed many parts of the community on May 20, 2013. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

rescuers remove debris
CAPTION: Moore, Okla., May 22, 2013 -- FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (NE TF1) team members search house to house for survivors in tornado devastated neighborhood in Moore, Oklahoma. Andrea Booher/FEMA

Oklahoma National Guard

national guard in damaged street
Oklahoma National Guardsmen conduct search and rescue operations in Moore, Okla., May 21, 2013, after a devastating tornado killed dozens of people there, May 20. The guardsmen are assigned to the 63rd Civil Support Team. (Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kendall James)

American Red Cross

american red cross supplies
May 21, 2013, Moore, Oklahoma. Red Cross volunteers Doris Baker (left) and Tiffany Stuhr (right) from Oklahoma help distribute supplies in the affected communities. (Photo credit: Jason Colston/American Red Cross.)

red cross volunteer
A volunteer for the American Red Cross cleans a photo that was recovered from the damaged area. (Photo credit: American Red Cross)

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services

salvation army disaster supplies
May 22, 2013, Salvation Army staff unload supplies for those impacted by the Oklahoma tornadoes. (Photo credit: Salavation Army Emergency Disaster Services)

Feed the Children

Oklahoma Humane Society

humane society check up
May 21, 2013, Staff and volunteers work intake as animals come in. We've had 70 animals come in, and expect to have about 200 come through our doors. (Photo credit: Central Oklahoma Humane Society)
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Last Updated: 
05/23/2013 - 17:28

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