IDABELLE, Oklahoma (KFOR) – After Governor Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency for Bryan, McCarten, Choctaw and Le Flore counties following the devastating tornado that hit southeastern Oklahoma Friday night. , Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief is sending several volunteers to Idabel.
Oklahoma Baptist disaster relief teams, along with chainsaw teams and damage surveyors, are helping in Idabel and elsewhere, affecting multiple families. More than 100 homes and businesses have been damaged and over 3,000 power outages. The storm, sadly, also claimed lives.
“We searched every house and found only one dead. So last night a 90 year old man was killed. So our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” said Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.
On Saturday, Gov. Stitt announced plans to declare devastation in Idabel and declare a state of emergency in affected counties.
“So we can rebuild these other homes. We’ll get help,” Stitt said.
Joy Hoffmeister, Superintendent of Public Education, said Friday night’s tornadoes in southeastern Oklahoma:
“Our hearts go out to the communities of Idabel, Hugo, Valiant, Dennison, and surrounding towns after last night’s tornado. Our agency stands ready to provide other support should additional needs arise during this ordeal.Our prayers are with you affected by this devastation and loss. With all Oklahomans.”
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma issued this statement regarding the state of emergency. “Choctaw Nation’s priority is to ensure that the people of McCarten County are safe and able to provide needed relief supplies,” Button said. “Therefore, I am declaring a state of emergency and coordinating with the Department of Emergency Management to provide immediate assistance,” said Oklahoma Choctaw Chief Gary Button.
Tornado destroyed Trinity Church in Idabel.
Medical centers and schools there were also hit hard.
The state is sending generators and crews to assist with the search and cleanup.
“We just finished a tour of the damage, and all I saw was Oklahomans gathering. Last night’s storm had passed, but they were already out, and they were talking to each other. We were helping each other, clearing limbs and debris,” Stitt said.
That’s what Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief does.
Dozens of volunteers are on the ground helping families and cleaning up those affected.
Their work includes feeding units, shower trailers, chainsaw teams, and debris cleanup.
“At the moment some teams are meeting in Idabel and we are going to set up at the First Baptist Church in Idabel. We have a chainsaw team. We are part of the Salvation Army and we prepare and distribute meals in and around Idabel, so we’re just there to help them with chainsaws and clearing debris,” said Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief. said Sam Porter, Interim State Director of
Volunteers will be there until the work is completed.
“But I’m going to clean up the debris with a chainsaw and sort it out. It’ll probably take a couple of weeks, maybe a month at most. It could be right before Christmas…clear the debris and get out of the house.” As long as it takes to remove the tree, we’ll be there, and you know, the house has been completely destroyed,” Porter said.
Sam Porter asks all Oklahoma Baptists to pray for those affected by the tornado.
If you would like to help Idabel’s Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, here is information on how to donate online.
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