State and local agencies and volunteer organizations continue to respond to the devastation in Greensburg, caused by a tornado that struck the community Friday.


State and local agencies and volunteer organizations continue to respond to the devastation in Greensburg, caused by a tornado that struck the community Friday.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius declared a State of Disaster Emergency for Kiowa County.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are dealing with the devasting loss this storm has brought," Sebelius said.

The tornado was tracked through Comanche, Kiowa, Edwards, Stafford, Pratt and Barton Counties. Emergency management officials are getting damage estimates to access whether affected areas will qualify for a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

Eight storm-related deaths were reported in Kiowa County. One person was reported killed in Stafford County, but it has now been determined that person was from Pratt County.

Early reports indicated the person was in Stafford County and was transported to Pratt County. Two other unconfirmed deaths have been reported.

Numerous injuries have also been reported. Sixteen persons are reported in critical condition and 50 people have been treated at area hospitals.

The American Red Cross has established two shelters in Haviland. Approximately 300 people were sheltered during the night. Red Cross officials are advising people concerned about the safety of friends and family to go American Red Cross website (www.redcross.org) and click on the ?Safe and Well? link to enter information about the person being sought.

The Salvation Army is establishing a donations center, a social services center and a distribution center in Haviland. They are requesting donations of cash only at this time.

The Salvation Army has also established three canteens in Greensburg to feed storm victims and rescue workers.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is coordinating response and recovery operations. Soldiers and airmen from the Kansas National Guard are assisting with security, communications and shelter missions.

The Guardsmen are from the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, 891st Engineer Battalion and 184th Air Refueling Wing. The 134th Air Control Squadron is supplying two 120 kW generators to assist in search and rescue operations and 1,500 gallons of water.

Eighteen light sets from the 184th ARW have also been sent to Greensburg to provide light for response and recovery operations. The Pratt Kansas National Guard armory has been opened as a staging area for logistic support.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is also assisting with reestablishing communications and public safety issues.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has provided roadblocks and signage to keep out authorized persons from entering the area. KDOT is also involved in clearing debris from highways to so rescue vehicles can get into the affected areas. The State Fire Marshal is checking into any reported hazardous materials.

Wichita Search and Rescue has dispatched several teams to assist with search and rescue operations and Sedgwick County Public Health Emergency Team has been sent to the area with staff, consumable supplies and durable equipment, including two generators.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger has contacted all major property insurance companies in Kansas. Claims agents will be making damage assessments as soon as it is deemed safe to return to the area, probably Monday.

Power outages have been reported throughout Kiowa and surrounding counties. Cell phones and land line communications were also severely impacted. The Kansas National Guard mobile incident command vehicle is on site, as well as the Kansas Department of Transportation communications-on-wheels vehicle and the Kansas Highway Patrol sent its command and communications vehicle to assist in restoration of communication systems.

911 communications have been restored by the KDOT vehicle.
Sedgwick County sent a search and rescue crew to the city to assist in evacuation efforts at the local hospital, which was damaged by the tornado. Approximately 30 people were rescued from the hospital with minor injuries.

Emergency crews from surrounding counties are also assisting with medical response. Two quadrants have been searched and two are still being searched.

The City of Hutchinson sent four police officers, two patrol cars and three pick-up trucks with portable generators to Greensburg.

The Civil Air Patrol conducted several air reconnaissance flights to survey damages in coordination with flights by the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Damage in Barton County included farm sheds, house windows and shingles. Major damage was reported to a field mill.

A Sheriff's Deputy reports that crude oil is leaking into a stream. Barton County Landfill manager has notified Kansas Department of Health and Environment in Topeka and is in route with a representative from the Hays KDHE office.