Topeka – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback toured the Oaklawn neighborhood of south Wichita today to survey the progress being made on cleanup operations following Saturday’s devastating tornado in that area. This is the second visit Governor Brownback has made to the area since Saturday’s storms.
The Governor met with local officials and with families whose homes were destroyed by the EF-3 tornado. Following the tour of the area, Governor Brownback encouraged all Kansans to donate to those affected by storms, and to volunteer with cleanup operations.
“While it could have been much worse in Kansas, the devastation caused by these storms has still caused an acute human need for help,” said Governor Brownback. “In times of trouble, Kansans have always looked out for their neighbors. I encourage all Kansans to do what they can to help those faced with rebuilding their homes and lives – a small donation or simply just your time to assist with cleaning up will go a long way in making a difference.”
The United Way has set up a phone line to facilitate donations to storm victims. Calling 2-1-1 from any phone will allow people to donate money, goods, service or volunteer to help. Contributions can also be made by going online to https://give.liveunited.org/page/contribute/contribution1 or at www.ksready.gov and clicking on the “Donate to Kansas disaster relief” link.
“The weekend’s tornado caused destruction in the Wichita area,” Mayor Carl Brewer said. “Fortunately, many of us were spared but many others were victims and are in need of basic services and other assistance. I want to encourage Wichitans to volunteer in the cleanup and help in other ways that we can.”
“Unfortunately, some of our neighbors who were affected by the tornado lost their homes and personal belongings,” said Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Tim Norton. “Our donations can help them begin to put their lives back in order by replacing basic household items and clothing, so they can recover from this tragic event.”
Gov. Sam Brownback signed a declaration of a State of Disaster Emergency for 39 counties affected by the storms, which generated tornadoes in addition to heavy rain, lightning, high winds and large hail. Named in the declaration are Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Clay, Comanche, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellsworth, Geary, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kingman, Kiowa, Lincoln, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Marshall, Mitchell, Morris, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, Stafford, Sumner, Smith and Wabaunsee Counties.
The declaration activates the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan to expedite state assistance to counties based on the amount of damages sustained and the counties’ ability to respond with the resources they have available.