Agencies rush to help survivors following vicious storms as death toll rises

OKLAHOMA CITY – Disaster response teams have rushed to help survivors following the vicious storms that tore through multiple states earlier this week, including Oklahoma.

Volunteers with Oklahoma’s chapter of the American Red Cross and the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team are just two organizations that have helped with relief efforts.

In the past few days, 31 people passed away in the storms that began between Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.

Janienne Bella, regional chief executive officer with the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma, said, “We actually deployed two of our emergency response vehicles.”

American Red Cross volunteers from the Central & Western Oklahoma Region are in Arkansas helping the affected counties with health services and supplies.

Bella said, “The vehicles we use for mass care feeding and delivering things like rakes and shovels and gloves, water and food.”

The Red Cross also has a strong partnership with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team, which sent a mobile kitchen to prepare meals, plus two chainsaw trailers to help survivors in Quapaw and Baxter Springs, Kansas.

Click here for more information on the storms.

Sam Porter, with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, said, “Guys working that are cutting the trees damaged for the homeowners there in Quapaw, as well as putting tarps over the roofs for the homes not completely destroyed.”

As tornado season continues to linger for parts of the south and Midwest, one thing the Red Cross is pushing this season is preparedness.

Bella said, “The preparedness piece saves lives. The response is important, but if you’re prepared, it can truly save lives.”

Experts say you can search the American Red Cross on your smartphone.

Also, download NewsChannel 4’s free apps to keep you 4warned.