IDABEL, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is sending several volunteers to Idabel after Governor Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency for Bryan, McCurtain, Choctaw and Le Flore counties following the destructive tornado that ripped through southeastern Oklahoma Friday night.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief teams are on hand to help in Idabel and elsewhere, with chainsaw teams and damage assessors as it affects several families. Over 100 homes and businesses are damaged and there are over 3,000 power outages. The storm also unfortunately cost someone’s life.
“We searched all the houses and there was only one death. Thus, a 90-year-old man was killed last night. So our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.
On Saturday, Governor Stitt was in Idabel to express his devastation and announced his intention to declare a state of emergency for the affected counties.
“So we can rebuild these other houses. And so, we’re making an executive order right now to declare an emergency for these four counties. And we’ll get all the help we can down here,” Stitt said.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister also made the following remarks regarding Friday night’s tornado in southeast Oklahoma.
“Our hearts go out to the communities of Idabel, Hugo, Valliant, Denison and surrounding towns in the wake of last night’s tornado. The State Department of Education Crisis Response Team of Oklahoma has provided resources to administrators in affected school districts. The agency stands ready to provide further supports as additional needs arise in this ordeal. Our prayers are with all Oklahomans affected by this devastation and this loss.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma issued this statement regarding the state of emergency. “The priority of the Choctaw Nation is to ensure the people of McCurtain County are safe and receive needed relief,” Batton said. “Therefore, I have declared a state of emergency and am coordinating with the Emergency Management Department to provide prompt assistance,” said Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
There was also damage to Trinity Church in Idabel, shattered by a tornado.
A medical center and a school were also badly affected.
The state is sending generators and crews to help with the search and cleanup.
“We have just done the rounds of the damage. And what I saw was Oklahomans gathering. The storm came through last night, but they were already out, you know, helping each other. We were cleaning up limbs and debris,” Stitt said.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief does just that.
Dozens of volunteers are on the ground to help families and clean up those affected.
Their work will include power units, shower trailers, chainsaw crews, clearing debris and more.
“We now have several teams converging on Idabel and we will be moving to First Baptist Church in Idabel. We will have chainsaw teams. We brought a food unit, a mobile food unit over there… We are part of the Salvation Army preparing and distributing meals through and around Idabel. And so, we’re just going to be there to help them with chainsaws and debris cleanup,” said Sam Porter, acting state director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief.
The volunteers plan to be there until the work is finished.
“But we’ll do it, cut and clean the debris, sort it out, it can take maybe two to three weeks or even up to a month. Maybe it’s just before Christmas… We’ll be there as long as it takes to clean up the debris, remove the trees from the houses. You know, the houses are totally destroyed,” Porter said.
Sam Porter asks all Baptists in Oklahoma to pray for those affected by the tornadoes.
If you would like to help support Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief in Idabel, there is information on how to donate online here.
Suggest a fix