Oklahoma/Kansas Tornado Disaster Update

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Release date: 
May 5, 1999
Release Number: 
1272-02e

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- State officials report the death toll from Monday's deadly tornado outbreak now stands at 43. Thirty eight died in Oklahoma and five in Kansas.

Neither state has confirmed reports of missing people.

FEMA's regional operations center in Denton, Texas (Region VI) Regional Operations Center is operating 24 hours/day. FEMA's regional operations center in Kansas City, Mo. (Region VII) is also operational from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. CDT. An Emergency Support Team has been activated at FEMA Headquarters and is operating two shifts around-the-clock.

Oklahoma:

FEMA's regional office in Denton, Texas (Region VI) has dispatched a number of teams to Oklahoma, including an advance Emergency Response Team, Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) teams, and personnel from the Denton Mobile Emergency Response System (MERS). The MERS team brought the Emergency Operations Vehicle (EOV), a mobile command post, which will be used until a Disaster Field Office is located and put in operation.

Bad weather hampered PDA work yesterday, but very early figures indicate as many as 1,500 houses and other structures were destroyed or severely damaged. Damage assessments should begin in earnest today with what the National Weather Service (NWS) reports will be the first of at least four days with sunny, warm conditions.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a Disaster Medical Assistance Team and a Disaster Mortuary Team with an associated Management Support Team to Oklahoma City.

The Department of Defense is on alert and ready to support disaster operations at the request of the FEMA Regional Director or the disaster's Federal Coordinating Officer. Tinker Air Force Base in southeast Oklahoma City has been designated as the Base Support Installation for support of Federal disaster operations. The U.S. Army's 249 th Engineering Battalion (Prime Power) has sent two platoons (29 people total) to the Oklahoma City area for quick deployment if needed. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stands ready to assist with debris clearance, removal, disposal and Technical Assistance if requested.

FEMA Director James Lee Witt, Region VI Director Buddy Young, and Gov. Keating toured the disaster area yesterday, accompanied by both Oklahoma Senators and Congressman J.C. Watts, whose district suffered some of the worst damage in Oklahoma City.

The American Red Cross (ARC) operated 10 shelters overnight. Five hundred people took advantage of the shelters last night, down from 1,600 at the height of the storm.

The ARC is also providing feeding stations, and has several Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) on site or en route to the area. ARC damage assessment teams are also in the field, but were slowed in completing their work yesterday due to the weather.

Power crews from Oklahoma and Texas are on the job attempting to restore electricity to as many as 75,000 customers. Full power restoration is expected in seven to 10 days.

Kansas:

The most significant damage appears to be in Sedgwick County, primarily in Haysville and Wichita. As many as 8,400 structures were impacted in the path of the twisters, with 1,100 of those destroyed. There are more than 2,240 structures that suffered major damage, and 5,126 with minor damage.

Five deaths occurred in Kansas, which is half of the earlier estimate provided just hours after the tornadoes swept through the area.

The NWS forecast for the next three days in Kansas calls for a chance of rain today, drier conditions Thursday and more rain on Friday.

The ARC is operating five shelters housing 200 people. ARC is also operating feeding stations and has three ERVs in the area and more en route.

Most of Haysville, Kansas is without electricity t...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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