OKLAHOMA CITY (January 30, 2010) –
The State of Emergency continues in Oklahoma. The State of Oklahoma Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to be activated and running 24 hours a day. Although all precipitation has ceased, travel is discouraged due to ice and snow packed roads. Governor Mike Beebe declared a State of Emergency for Arkansas. The storm system that impacted Oklahoma also created slick and hazardous conditions for northwest, north central and central Arkansas. However, it appears that the brunt of the storm affected the Oklahoma portion of our Division. As of this time, there are still close to 141,000 customers in Oklahoma without electricity and the number continues to fluctuate. Numerous power poles, transmitters and lines are down in rural southwestern Oklahoma:
The Salvation Army is currently involved in the following activities:
· Tulsa Center of Hope is continuing to shelter approximately 350 persons and serve approximately 2,000 meals a day.
· Central Oklahoma Area Command had an additional 61 persons on cots at their shelter. A group of six persons with a service dog named Buddy became stranded while traveling to California. Other shelters denied them because of the therapy/service dog. After contacting California to confirm Buddy was truly a service dog, they also spent the night at The Salvation Army Oklahoma City shelter.
· The Altus, Oklahoma office/kitchen and quarters continue to be without full electrical power, and it appears thousands will be without power for several days. Captain Ernie Hull of the Ardmore, Oklahoma Salvation Army arrived with a mobile feeding unit and crew to assist in Altus. They provided two generators to help power the Corps kitchen. Major Ron Mott, Corps Officer, is working closely with the emergency manager and providing meals to first responders, city and utility workers. Additionally, Enid Oklahoma Salvation Army is sending a crew and feeding equipment to assist in Altus.
· Lawton provided cots and blankets to a Red Cross shelter in Lawton that was running very low on supplies. Captain Mark Jacobs also delivered a significant amount of food to the City of Snyder for their emergency shelter and the same to the City of Cache for their emergency shelter at the request of local emergency management.
· Chickasha is providing meals, snacks, drinks and supervision of the warming center located on the Grady County fairgrounds in addition to providing meals at a local nursing home at the request of the city emergency manager.
· Central Oklahoma Area Command sent a canteen and crew led by Captain Vance Murphy to Cyril, Oklahoma to help with feeding a shelter at the request of the county emergency manager and Chickasha Corps Officer.
· The Fort Smith Arkansas shelter continues to serve as the primary shelter for the Fort Smith area. They are running “Emergency” hours operating the shelter and providing a warming center 24 hours a day and anticipate it will continue through Monday evening due to extremely cold temperatures. Fort Smith received over seven inches of snow on Friday.
· The Northwest Arkansas Area Command continues to operate both the Bentonville and Fayetteville shelters as cold weather shelters 24 hours a day. They continue to have additional guests due to the weather. A wonderful partnership with Washington and Benton counties created the opportunity to have both shelter parking lots cleared of snow and ice. Additionally, a person in a wheel chair came in and the wheels were falling off his wheel chair. The Salvation Army was able to give the man a wheel chair to replace his old one.
Salvation Army personnel continue to work closely with State emergency management officials, local emergency management and other VOAD agencies to coordinate services and provide ongoing assistance to residents in both Arkansas and Oklahoma in need of ongoing aid due to current and pending weather conditions.
Monetary donations are welcome and can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or online at www.salvationarmyusa.org.