Since the deadly tornadoes first struck parts of the country last week, the federal government has been in constant contact with all of the impacted states as they responded to and began recovery efforts from these devastating storms.
The administration, through FEMA, is committed to bringing all of the resources of the federal family to bear to support Missouri and the other states devastated by the deadly tornadoes and storms this weekend.
Through our regional offices in Kansas City, MO and Chicago, IL, has been in close contact and coordination with the states since the storms first struck, and has already deployed staff and resources to the impacted areas in Missouri to help with response needs.
Here is a recap of the support efforts of the federal family today:
Wednesday, May 25
- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calls Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to express her condolences on behalf of the federal family and to offer support for the communities affected by last night's deadly tornadoes.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its federal partners continue to work closely with state and local officials in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and other states impacted by the deadly tornadoes and severe storms that struck the Midwest over the weekend and last night.
- In Oklahoma, FEMA staff on the ground, including a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO), tour damages with Oklahoma Emergency Management (OEM) Director and Oklahoma Governor Fallin. The FCO has been embedded with state officials at the Oklahoma Emergency Operations Center since last night.
- FEMA deploys a regional Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to Oklahoma to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response and recovery.
- In Arkansas, FEMA has staff on the ground, including a Federal Coordinating Officer, working closely with the Governor and the Arkansas Emergency Management team.
- The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma is forecasting a high risk of severe thunderstorms for portions of the Mid-Mississippi Valley into the Lower Ohio Valley today and tonight, including areas around St. Louis, Mo., Little Rock, Ark. and Memphis, Tenn. These storms have the potential to produce large hail, strong winds, and torrential rainfall.
- FEMA, through its regional offices in Kansas City, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois, Denton, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia, continue to stay in constant contact with our state and local counterparts as we monitor additional severe weather.
- FEMA Administrator Fugate continues to tour affected areas in Missouri and meet with disaster survivors, state and local officials, first responders and representatives of voluntary organizations to ensure the state has what they need as response efforts continue.
- One Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is open in Joplin, Missouri. It is staffed by state, voluntary agency and federal personnel to help those whose homes or businesses were affected by recent storms and tornadoes. This center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, until further notice. At the DRC, representatives from FEMA, state and other agencies meet one on one with disaster survivors, explain assistance programs and help survivors apply for disaster aid.
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) member organizations such as American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, and many others continue to be heavily involved in the disaster response by providing assistance to Missouri disaster survivors. The Red Cross Safe and Well secure website continues to provide a way for people to find information on people affected by the storms.
- Supplies such as meals, water, cots and blankets are either on site or en route to three strategically located incident support bases established in three locations across Missouri. The support bases will allow FEMA to move supplies closer to the affected area in case they are needed.
- A federal mortuary assistance team has arrived to the Joplin area, and will work under the guidance of local authorities, providing technical assistance and personnel. This effort was coordinated through Emergency Support Function 8, which was previously activated by FEMA, and authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate hospital medical needs and patient evacuations, in support of the state, if necessary.
- More than six FEMA Community Relations (CR) teams are on the ground meeting with disaster survivors in Joplin and additional Community Relations specialists are en route, explaining the assistance available and to help survivors register for assistance. So far, CR teams have worked one-on-one with more than 200 tornado survivors in Joplin. Over the past several days, they have been actively canvassing neighborhoods, visiting shelters and supporting the operation of disaster recovery centers.