Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, joined Gov. Matt Blunt, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, and FEMA Administrator David Paulison today on a tour of areas that were damaged by Saturday's tornadoes. The following news release was issued by Gov. Blunt:
This weekend’s storms were tragic for the people of Barry, Jasper and Newton Counties," Gov. Blunt said. "Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes caused significant property damage, and worse, took the lives of 16 of our fellow Missourians. As the recovery process begins, it is encouraging to see Missourians’ strength, resilience and compassion in action."
Gov. Blunt yesterday toured storm ravaged communities both from the ground and air. Today he accompanied Rep. Blunt, Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff and FEMA Administrator Paulison to provide federal officials an up-close view of the damaged area.
Gov. Blunt activated the Emergency Operations Center to ensure state resources are available to the citizens of southwest Missouri. Gov. Blunt mobilized nearly 20 National Guard Soldiers to assist with law enforcement. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has had several dozen officers assisting local communities with traffic control and security, and the Missouri State Water Patrol had 18 officers assisting area law enforcement. Yesterday Gov. Blunt announced that joint FEMA/SEMA Damage Assessment teams would be in the area through today collecting property damage information for citizens and businesses.
Missourians who need resource referrals or non-emergency help are urged to call 211. The 211 Service is now available for most areas of Missouri and helps citizens with disaster information and referrals. In areas where 211 is not operational, citizens may call 800-427-4626.