The 1,400 residents of Greensburg are going to have to start over, all of them. Greensburg was destroyed by a massive tornado Friday night leaving only a few buildings standing and those are damaged.
Local, state and federal agencies are already working together to help the families of this mass disaster.
The Cannonball Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross has set up shelters and is organizing efforts to help Greensburg start over.
The Red Cross has a list of survivors that is available to public but in order for it to be effective, all survivors need to register, said Andrea Anglin, Red Cross public relations manager.
Some people are still unaccounted for and an accurate list will help the Red Cross provide vital information for family, friends and loved ones.
Survivors can register on-line at redcross.org then click on the Safe and Well box. They will be asked to provide their name and pre-disaster address and telephone number. Victims can also register by calling 1-866-438-4636.
Anyone wanting to know about a relative, friend or loved one can go to the same site and conduct a search but they will have to have the same information as a privacy factor.
Registration and searches can also be done at disastersafe.redcross.org
“The best thing people can do for the Red Cross is monetary donations, Anglin said. “That is our greatest need right now.”
The Red Cross has limited storage space and they buy what they need then distribute it. Money donations allow them to buy only what they need and not have to deal with items they can’t use. Donations can be made on-line at www.redcross.org or call 1-800-733-2767. Donations can also be mailed to the Cannonball Trail Chapter in Pratt at 114 North Main, Pratt KS 67124.
Volunteers sign in
Anyone wanting to volunteer must go to the Red Cross Command Center at the First United Methodist Church to register before they can do anything to help the Red Cross.
Victims will be able to return to Greensburg Monday under strict rules for one day. National Guard soldiers and police will man the barricades to allow victims to recover items, said Steve Hewitt, town administrator.
Victims will be allowed in town from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, May 7. Some information said victims would be allowed in until 8 p.m. but that is incorrect. Buses will run from the shelters to Greensburg every two hours. The last bus will leave Greensburg at 6 p.m.
Only small personal items can be collected and no trailers will be allowed. Everyone must go to the KDOT building on the west side of Greensburg to register. Everyone must give an address and a reason they are there. Only family members will be allowed in, no friends allowed. Everyone must be out of town by 6 p.m. for curfew, no exceptions. Violators will be arrested.
Two shelters are open in Haviland. One is at Haviland High School, 44 N. Topeka and the other is at Barclay College at 607 N. Kingman Street.
Residents and businesses can apply for federal disaster aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. On-line registration is at www.fema.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for speech or hearing impaired. The toll free numbers are operated from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. President Bush issued a major disaster declaration for the area affected by the storm. Michael Karl is the Federal Coordinating Officer.
The last three weeks of school for USD 422 have been canceled for the 300 students in the district. The golf, track and softball teams may continue to play.
Graduation will happen
Graduation will be held but no time, date or place has been set, said USD 422 Superintendent Darin Hedrick.
District information is available on-line at usd422.org
Replace drivers license
The Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles will open the Pratt drivers license office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 7 so storm victims can get replacement drivers license and identification cards. Car titles for residents of Kiowa County will also be available from the county Treasurer’s office in Pratt after Tuesday. Normally the driver’s license station is open Tuesday–Friday, but these Monday hours will accommodate person in the shelters and other victims who need identification immediately.
A mobile station in Haviland will be operational by Tuesday May 8. For further details contact Freda Warfield at the Department of revenue, Topeka 785-296-3042.
Food stamps available
The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ Office in Pratt is taking applications for people who need emergency food stamps.
Some insurance companies will be at the shelters to help victims file claims, said Sue Peachey of Peachey Insurance.
Others should contact their insurance agents. Victims can use Red Cross phones to contact their insurance companies. Victims should start making a list, as best they can, of everything they own. They should take pictures of their house and belongings to help the claim process, Peachey said.
Service center planned
A one-stop service center for processing new driver’s licenses, providing insurance services and other assistance are being planned said Rep. Dennis McKinney and Sen. Ruth Teichman. The state commissioners for insurance and banking put the plan in motion. No timeline has been set but it should be available quickly.
Beware fake charities
Any person who is concerned about charity organizations that are collecting donations for Greensburg victims can check the organization at charitynavigator.org and get detailed information about charitable organizations. Organizations can also be checked by visiting their web site or contacting the Better Business Bureau.
People should also use their gut instinct on charities, Anglin said.
The American Red Cross will not call or go door-to-door asking for donations.
Kiowa County News
The Kiowa County Signal will continue to be published out of the Pratt Tribune office in Pratt. E-mail should go to firstname.lastname@example.org and postal mail can be sent to: The Pratt Tribune, P.O. Box 909, Pratt, Kansas 67124
To contact by phone, call 620-672-5511 and ask for Laurie Anderson, Mark Anderson or Stan Navarrette.
Submit your photos
Anyone with photos related to the Greensburg disaster can share their photos by posting them at the following address:
These photos will be available for everyone to view.