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Plains States Tornado Update

Release date: 
May 6, 1999
Release Number: 

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal, state and local officials are responding to the disasters in Oklahoma and Kansas. The following is the latest information on the situation:


  • There has been no change in damage figures or casualties for the May 3 tornadoes. State officials confirm 38 deaths and more than 500 injuries. More than 1,500 structures were destroyed or severely damaged by the tornadoes.

  • There are currently 9,000 customers without power in the Oklahoma City area. Utility officials expect to have full restoration, where possible, within seven to 12 days.

  • The American Red Cross operated five shelters overnight housing at least 45 people.

  • There are 358 federal personnel in Oklahoma to support and assist in response and recovery operations.

  • A FEMA liaison is working at the State Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate response and recovery efforts.

  • Meetings are scheduled today with mayors in affected areas to identify critical issues and recovery needs.

  • State officials have requested direct federal assistance with debris removal. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work on this operation.

  • The Disaster Medical Assistance Team is beginning to stand down as the immediate response situation eases.

  • Preliminary Damage Assessment teams of federal and state officials plan additional surveys tomorrow.

  • Oklahoma State Emergency Management is establishing a phone bank and Donations Coordination Team to process donations. It is expected to be operational today, at which time the number will be announced.


  • Vice President Gore will visit the area today.

  • FEMA Director James Lee Witt and Burke Kulik, Head of Disaster Services for the Small Business Administration, toured the area with Governor Graves and members of the Kansas Congressional delegation on May 5.

  • There has been no change in the number of casualties or damage assessments. There have been five fatalities and more than 100 injuries in Kansas. As many as 8,400 structures, primarily in the Wichita area, were impacted, with as many as 1,100 of those destroyed. More than 2,240 structures suffered major damage, and 5,126 suffered minor damage.

  • There are 134 federal personnel in Kansas to support and assist in response and recovery operations.

  • Debris removal is well underway, with major arteries generally clear and work beginning on side streets.

  • There are no shelters open currently in Kansas. Approximately 2,000 people have been sheltered to date. Locating temporary housing is a top priority.

  • In Wichita, at the height of the storm, as many as 128,000 customers were without power. However, crews are making good progress on power restoration. High voltage lines are down throughout Wichita.

  • Because of the impact on economic activity in the area, FEMA is working with state officials to ensure the implementation of Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

  • Impacted communities have received excellent support from neighboring city and county public works departments. This support enabled the rapid clearance of main arteries of debris and has sponsored a sense of community across the area.

Headquarters Operations

The Emergency Support Team (EST) at FEMA HQ is activated a...

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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