Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2011 – 8 p.m. – Situation Update 5
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Michelann Ooten
SEVERE WEATHER RECOVERY EFFORTS CONTINUE
Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) personnel remain in the field, assisting local jurisdictions in areas affected by the April 14th tornado outbreak.
Much of the state will see several chances of rain during the next few days, but this will be accompanied by a threat of severe weather. Severe thunderstorms are possible this evening across eastern Oklahoma and most of the eastern two-thirds of the state will see a risk of severe storms again on Friday. The unsettled weather pattern will persist into early next week.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
The fatality count remains at two (2), with both deaths attributed to the Tushka tornado, according to the Oklahoma State Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Additionally, 43 were initially injured during the Tushka tornado, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Another 73 injuries were reported during response, recovery efforts.
REQUEST FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE PENDING
Oklahoma continues to await word on Gov. Mary Fallin's request that Pres. Barack Obama declare Atoka County a disaster area. If the request is approved, individuals and business owners who sustained uninsured storm-related damage would be eligible for assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
A State of Emergency remains in effect for 26 Oklahoma counties due to the severe weather of April 14. Gov. Mary Fallin declared the State of Emergency on Friday for the following 26 counties: Atoka, Carter, Coal, Creek, Custer, Delaware, Harper, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, Lincoln, Love, Marshall, Murray, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Rogers, Seminole, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington, Woodward. The declaration provides a formal mechanism for local governments to seek reimbursement for recovery costs through the state’s disaster public assistance program, should conditions warrant. The executive order is also the first step toward seeking federal aid.
Monetary donations are needed for those affected by the April 14th Tushka Tornado.
A “Tushka Tornado Relief Fund” has been established at the First Bank of Tushka and Ameristate Bank.
Mail donations to:
First Bank of Tushka, 701 S. Mississippi, Atoka 74525
Ameristate Bank, 117 S. Pennsylvania, Atoka 74525
Clothing donations are no longer needed.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak issued an emergency order Friday that enabled licensed out-of-state claims adjustors to immediately assist Oklahomans who suffered damage and losses from the severe weather outbreak. Under the order, emergency adjustors are permitted only to adjust storm-related claims for the next 90 days. At the end of that time period, the situation will be reevaluated and a determination made whether to extend the order. The order may be viewed at http://www.ok.gov/oid/News_and_Events/Notices/Legal_Notices/index.html
Homeowners, renters or commercial insurance policies cover most losses from tornado, wind storm, hail and similar severe weather events. Tornado losses to a home are covered by the “wind storm" peril under the homeowner’s insurance policy. Renters insurance also provides coverage for policyholders’ possessions under this peril. Business owners are covered under their commercial policies. Protection from windstorm or hail damage for cars is covered under the “comprehensive” portion of the automobile insurance policy.
If you experienced losses from the storm:
-Immediately contact your insurance agent or company representative if you have not done so already;
-Inspect property and cars for damage;
-Inventory losses and photograph damage, and save related receipts to assist with claims handling;
-Secure property from further damage or theft;
-Check the background and legitimacy of repair contractors. A good rule of thumb is to do the same kind of check you would do if you were hiring them to perform normal work not related to the storm, including asking for and verifying references;
-If your business suffered damage, keep detailed records of business activity and of expenses during the interruption period, and prepare records to show the income from the business both before and after the loss.
For assistance in addressing insurance problems, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department’s consumer assistance division at 1-800-522-0071 or on the web at www.oid.ok.gov
Damage assessments completed by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency identified 237 homes and businesses damaged in Atoka County. Of those, 149 were destroyed; 47 sustained major damage; 33 minor damage and 8 were affected.
OEM and FEMA continue damage surveys on infrastructure, public buildings and facilities.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports an estimated 300 to 350 homes and businesses remain without power and their damaged pole count now stands at 238. Considerable progress has been made on the restoration efforts. However the gains made in restoring outages were impacted by the thunderstorm that moved through the service area Wednesday night. While no additional damage was done to the infrastructure, several services that had just been re-energized were knocked back off by lightning or loose debris that continues to fall from trees near the right-of-way.
SHELTERS AND MASS CARE
The American Red Cross today closed the shelter that was located at the Tushka Baptist Church. They continue to provide community outreach services at Tushka City Hall.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief continues to assist with feeding. Additionally, their chainsaw crews continue to assist with debris removal.
Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers have also been assisting in the community by providing chainsaw crews, clearing properties and placing tarps on roofs. Their efforts to assist the community will continue during the long term recovery work.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health remains on site in and around Tushka. More than 500 tetanus shots have been provided. State Health Department sanitarians are working with local merchants to ensure proper food disposal and preparation. Additionally, Atoka County Health Department is assisting citizens who have minor injuries. Public health nurses are providing health and comfort assistance. Public health regional teams are working with the local school system to ensure a smooth transition for students returning to school and addressing any health issues.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) continues to coordinate community and state resources to meet human service needs. OKDHS has personnel at Tushka City Hall taking applications regarding their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Officials with the Tushka Ministerial Alliance continue to coordinate volunteer efforts. Anyone needing assistance with securing their home due to storm damage, or anyone wanting to volunteer to assist, may call (580) 239-2428.
LOCATING LOST DOCUMENTS, PHOTOS
Please turn in documents, photos and other items found from tornado victims at Tushka City Hall, 101 SE First Street in Tushka.
Anyone missing their pet(s) or who has located a stray pet due to the severe weather is asked to report that information at Tushka City Hall. Bryan County-Durant Emergency Management is prepared to provide shelter for large animals, such as horses or goats, at the Durant Stock Yards, if necessary.
Oklahoma residents seeking non-emergency disaster or health and human service information, please contact your local 2-1-1. Services are available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1 from your home or cellular telephone.
BE READY FOR THE NEXT STORM WITH A NOAA WEATHER RADIO
Last week’s weather highlights again the need for people to stay informed about their local weather. The National Weather Service and OEM remind Oklahomans that a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm can save your life during hazardous weather.
For more information, go to oem.ok.gov
Also follow OEM on Twitter @OKEM