FEMA Visits Mayes County to Assess Tornado Damage | ‘It’s Devastating’

KTUL - June 3, 2024 5:38 am

“We are here with state officials and with FEMA officials and SBA. We’re going out doing preliminary damage assessments. We are trying to get a dollar figure with the amount of damage that has been caused by this tornado,” said the Deputy Director of Emergency management for Mayes County. Michael Dunham.

The local emergency management team are doing those assessments in Mayes County and even with their neighboring counties such as Delaware.

That’s where they had a grand total of three tornados and those tornados ranged from an EF-1 in the Salina area, but up to EF-3 damage in certain parts of the counties they are assessing.

“It’s devastating. We know some of these people here and we are hurting for them. And we are praying that they can get back on their feet. We’ve had groups out since Saturday, said Dunham. Over 1,500 acres I believe is what that group was trying to cover. Trying to get it all cleaned up. It’s just devastating with how much damage and how much debris that their having to deal with here.”

Dunham tells us that they are only a two-person office with 13 volunteers.

He says they’ve dealt with ice storms, but this is probably the most damage they have seen with individual homes.

Some have lost everything and will have to start from scratch after this hit.

“As you can see the house behind me, it is totally destroyed. There is no fixing that. They’re going to have to build back. Behind you all, there is a ton of debris. These people are going to be doing this for months, said Dunham. I’d say maybe nexus of year trying to clean everything back up and trying to get back to where they were.”

Dunham says there are about 70 registered homes in their area, and they have been struggling to get people to register online due to lack of power, cell service, and access to computers.

They say these tornadoes stretched 23 miles long.

And with the help from the state, they plan to have every house surveyed within the next week.

“I’m really here to make sure that we can try to expedite whatever request for assistance goes up from the state office to the governor’s office, up to the president to make sure that we can try our very best to get some federal assistance in here for all of those that have been impacted,” said state director of Oklahoma department of emergency management, Annie Vest.

“April 30 to date we have seen FEMA push out just over 4 million dollars to survivors.”

The goal is to be declared but with so much widespread damage, they need every resident to report their damage online to make a request specifically for Mayes County.

When these emergency management teams are deployed, they are looking for homes that have been affected, homes that have moderate damage, and homes that are totally destroyed.

You can go to damage.ok.gov if you have any type of damage to shingles missing on your roof up to a total home loss.


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