Janet Napolitano Urges Oklahoma Tornado Victims to Contact FEMA

Federal and state officials give briefing on tornado damage, clean-up efforts and assistance programs.
27:19 | 05/22/13

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Transcript for Janet Napolitano Urges Oklahoma Tornado Victims to Contact FEMA
This is a special report from ABC news. I'm Dan -- New York with a CBC news digital special report on a tornado aftermath in Oklahoma that people of the town of more calling through debris hoping. To salvage anything from their former lives before that massive tornado destroyed all in just 45 minutes Monday. FEMA agents have arrived they are now going door to door to help the victims get through this and -- set -- some temporary housing. The head of FEMA Craig few gate promising that FEMA will not leave. When the cameras -- -- that tornado killed 24 people the Oklahoma medical Examiner's office has identified 23 of those victims ten of whom are children including two infants. No reports of anyone still -- officials are focusing now on the damage -- and early estimates show that. It could be more than two billion dollars in damage caused from that tornado which is based on visual assessments of that seventeen mile disaster area. ABC's anti Russian is on the ground now let's go live with the latest on the report. -- what a difference 48 hours makes crews are now putting telephone poles back up of the neighborhoods there. Cleaning up this devastated hospital and it just feels like more is starting to -- back to life. A sure sign of the recovery a family comes home this morning to their damaged home. And -- their cat in the rubble you guys made some hot -- back there -- this as volunteers are spreading out over more Oklahoma. Delivering food and comfort to residents who lost everything in that powerful and devastating tornado. Hundreds of state and federal officials are also on the ground. Setting up disaster recovery centers that -- provide aid and assistance to victims as they begin their painful process of assessing their losses. And try to salvage what's left. Know for sure there's that -- Were -- and wouldn't you know few pictures. Rescue dogs were still searching every house up to three times to make sure no one is buried under the rubble or trapped in -- storm shelter. Amid the debris tales of survival like him Hollins who ran into the hospital when the huge funnel cloud barreled torture. Everybody had old I was over a little girl and the restarted you had to come in and I grabbed the phone part of the -- And -- it have a little girl and then I've laid on her other windows -- -- -- The hospital took a direct hit so voted to schools their buildings devastated and with a very different outcomes. At Breyer would elementary everyone survived some believe the school's construction played a role in the miracle landing. Each grade there is organized into -- and in the middle of each pod and opening to the outdoors. It served as an escape route when the walls collapsed. But seven children died at the other school plaza towers elementary. A more traditional building when its roof collapsed there were no open spaces to -- to safety. -- officials have canceled class. Says for the rest of the school year but graduation -- we'll go on. And erosion -- NBC news in Moore Oklahoma back to you. So -- it looks as if more people are stirring comeback canister into kind of find exactly what the assessment was -- shelters are they still filled with a lot of people just not knowing exactly where to go. At this point of of course some go to friends and family but there are thousands of people without a home right now the shelters are filling up. The university is also. Providing shelter for some of these people. And as well they've people a gallon up all kinds of goods for these folks that got. Toiletries. Diapers and everything they could -- this this place is very much used to this kind of tornados tornadic activity in the past and certainly they know how to respond and it. That's right yeah except India obviously any kind of a natural disaster striking -- -- catches a lot of people off guard despite the fact that she did have you know warning on this. When FEMA comes in and -- kind of disaster. Relief efforts come in there could always be some confusion as far as logistically. Just getting supplies to the areas the people that need -- have you been hearing about any problems with anyone either filing for FEMA assistance we're trying to even just get water they've been having problems to make that happen. Well I would say that problem but won't be having trouble getting water because there is so much of an outpouring from the community but those are great questions and in fact. The Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano is in Oklahoma right now -- -- she's just about to give a news conference starting right this minute. Until explained everybody how that's going to work but. President Obama has a full team of FEMA here along with hundreds of workers to help make that process as smooth as possible and it all starts right now. -- they've got about 400 people from FEMA on the ground now in Oklahoma's well. Any if you can discriminate statements from behind you there there is someone that that's going through a car may they -- -- like do. This Titus they still searching for four -- any. Further assessment of damages -- -- it's. Obviously just unimaginable that the scene there. They they had planned to do one last kind of sweet. Because yesterday they get all -- the real sweeping for anybody left under the rubble either dead or alive they couldn't find anybody from that initial. Search they came right after the tornado. So today they had planned to take one more just. Be safe kind of search but they don't expect to find anybody they say everyone is accounted for. And they don't expect to find anyone during the search not really just. Bill and the place back up. We're hearing on so many of those harrowing stories of people that either were down in cellars or in safe rooms when may. Managed to make it through the tornado. And -- -- a lot of resilience down there obviously the people of Oklahoma that -- you pointed out are all too familiar with these kinds of stores -- storms coming through. Have you heard from anyone insane this is if this was the storm that may just be. Enough to push them on in the area altogether because it is prone to these types of disasters. You know what you're going to hear that brought up the most interesting story I heard that during this whole episode with 194 year old woman. -- had her home destroyed in a may third 1999. Tornado just wiped out then had her home again. Wiped out in this tornado couple days ago and she just talks about too well -- -- -- gonna carry on -- 94 he doesn't plan on leaving. It's just gonna rebuild so that I think sums up the spirit of most the people here that they all pretty much rebuilt -- 99. But you're right we'll have to wait and see if allow them will want to stick around now. Yet that tornado and 99 almost almost the the exact same -- that the tornado that took on Monday and and that storm in 99. Killed 42 people and obviously. Just as heartbreaking from the lives lost from Monday's tornado. Tom what about people here and that this -- -- fact -- EF five that there -- winds as strong as 210219. Miles an hour. Are people surprised right or -- the intensity of the storm which just that much. And a really shocking and of course it was originally called maybe -- guessed it was at four. But then it was determined by the National Weather Service and all the things that going to determining these things that it was -- an F five. Tornado with winds of over 200 miles an hour a lot -- folks here are saying it was bigger wider -- the one and 99 but what may have saved people. Was the fact on this tornado they had sixteen minutes of time between the time of the first warning and when the tornado struck. Normally those warnings figure about eight to ten minutes so a lot of people are guessing that maybe the reason why fewer -- -- -- lost. This because they had a few extra minutes of time when that warning went off what. One of the most heartbreaking. Aspects of this and users watches in the video it's just unbelievable. I mean to. Witness that and then to be able to survive that but as we know unfortunately. There were lives lost and some including. At an elementary school yesterday. The superintendent of the more public schools came out and said that the administrators had in fact exercised. Their emergency disaster plan -- the best of their ability. But in fact that they were still going to review those planned in the have you heard any thing about administrators tried to make any changes to their emergency response to their disaster preparedness I know. Obviously it's it's very -- and it's not a matter of doing. Monday morning quarterbacking but of course and an area that is proud of these types of storms -- they wanna be as prepared as they can be. You know I haven't heard of any specifically of course there is a lot of hand -- what could we have done how could we have done this better. And you've got to wonder about those parents who lost those children thought that elementary school what they are thinking if they could evolve the school could have done more. They'll play out of the other elementary school as you may have heard earlier at a certain -- that allowed the kids to get out through parts of the school to get outside more quickly. If the school -- collapse which it did. So you're right it there's plenty of hand wringing now but I -- just sort of -- specifics. There are coming out at this point and maybe when the FEMA comes -- maybe they can offer suggestions about how to improve its in the future. What what are -- things and it's a difficult I mean you're on the ground as you can actually see this in real time and kind of get -- scope of the damage in the devastation. It's very difficult when you're only able to see small portions of video or -- shots of it. I know sometimes the nature of tornadoes can be hit or miss you know -- -- go through a neighborhood in. What house can be completely fine the next can be totally leveled. Is that the case in something like this that was as widespread it is seventeen miles long is it just simply flattened out. You know what you -- I think -- that we all have seen how strong standing next one that's been -- launch but so far out here we have not. Every home that we've seen as -- been wiped away and left just a concrete slab. Why neighborhood -- -- earlier every home got serious damage so they didn't look like many store -- home Scott thus -- in this one. All right -- stay with -- for a minute because -- wanna -- -- that news conference with. Homeland secretary gen -- tunnel on the left there and be governor of Oklahoma at the podium talking about the latest. On the recovery efforts. We appreciate -- today we are very pleased to have our secretary of Homeland Security again. I'm here today and welcome we're so glad to have you here are saying. She is an important player in helping -- it through our recovery efforts against her agency -- being. And we we meter here that. More than that she's a former governor and she understands what's going on. -- -- -- disaster recovery and we appreciate the secretary joining us here investments and Terry welcome. And we're also very pleased today to have -- CEO the American Red Cross Gail McGovern who is also joining us. Great processor and play -- very important -- In our recovery efforts here in our state not just this week -- And pretty -- we have on Sunday that it from meeting meeting meeting years the Red Cross has always been there -- we needed them and certainly. Helped with -- families in providing -- water anytime services and shelter. Those who lose property development thanks while we're glad to have you here we're also joined by our congressman this area Carson Tom -- He grew up in this area this family lived in -- certainly rivers since this area congressman. I'm glad to have you back from Washington very sorry for what has happened to this community and in your hometown area. And we want to start out -- as saying thank you to. All of the personnel isn't working on the sand on them underground site south. Certainly the first streets responders and -- please -- emergency personnel. The law enforcement. Of the various charities entities the -- As we appreciate -- as mayor Cornett. The tremendous job that everyone has been doing it is moving along very well. This state project and there certainly is a lot. Issues that need to be -- that we are making some progress SI -- an earlier this morning on. Very science magazine. We were clearing off some of our public area the debris in. And being able to open up more rose more areas of the people can get through. Begin the process. Recovery. In this and very big disaster area that we have. I want to have mentioned that this is still very active recovery. Every side and many people -- I injury time and also remember the public rose in this area. And just asks the public does not involved with the recovery efforts -- clean. War in the area for business that if he could. -- -- -- -- They would be helpful for the congestion that we are experiencing on our highways. And just ask having to be patient with us as we needed the time the equipment personal that we -- Get along the highways in the -- you get things done. Also the individuals that have. -- -- -- this storm is now we still want -- to make contact with the states to make contact with -- We need to know where -- -- We need to know if you need assistance. Needs to contact the -- we -- -- -- appropriate assistance whether it is the individual assistance we've been. Awarded through the federal disaster declaration where there's -- small business person -- -- need help with. SBA loans serious health care because it hasn't been -- place. Watching -- also tell us your whereabouts. Is especially with those students -- may not be able to find some of their. There relatives we have a web site to -- costs. It's called safe and well dot org and people register with web site Atlantis teachers taping -- well that -- -- to determine if there should be in England may not be found yet during this disaster and also CNN great amount. Outpouring of support from -- charities various entities individuals corporations. We received phone calls from all over oklahomans throughout the United States -- from. Countries are very grateful for your support. It's going to be a long recovery process there are many many needs. And our families and our individuals. Short term if people want to help. You can get to the American Red Cross you can get -- -- -- -- -- to. And also to the Salvation Army to the united way. And and that will help -- our charities. Affected individuals regardless of income level where he had injuries. And are encouraged to UConn. -- answer this with them about available services and we can't even. People that are here today we're glad to have -- -- in reaction from him once again and we appreciate mr. -- -- joining us yesterday. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Once again and -- -- together. And governor -- -- a terrific job here as all -- they elected officials within walking with. Sense for them before Monday actually. -- a lot of work to be done now in terms of recovery books. Really good I'm bringing together. First responders from here and around the country. On the immediate search and search and rescue needs I think they need now is debris removal. And we will be. Working with Oklahoma. Supporting -- expedited debris removal. That will open up roads and streets. And then individual homeowners. Will be worthless we can get that -- out of there. Please register with FEMA. -- 80621. FEMA or disaster assistance dot -- That way we can reach out back to you and allergic to whatever assistance. You qualify for it you may get we want to make this as smooth the process as possible. Although we know that that people are. I really hurting him -- that there's a lot of recovery yet to do. And on and on that point. I'm. You know I'm pleased to hear that. The charity that today your form is called Oklahoma restaurants and one of the things enhanced impressed me. So much has been the strength and resilience of the oklahomans. Who have been affected by this disaster. And who are taking charge and moving forward with the recovery of their communities it's it's very impressive and it's a model for. The rest the country. And to top it off I understand high school graduation will occur on time in this community. This weekend's. Recovery is underway debris removal is -- -- -- today get in touch with FEMA. If you haven't -- Already. And we will be here to stay at some point the cameras will leave. The national ones -- first and the local ones. And on behalf. President Obama on behalf of -- we will be here this day. Until this recovery is complete so you have our commitment. Thank you governor elect introduced -- Reno who's the deputy director of the three. Thank you secretary governor congressman mayor's. First off I just want to express. Condolences and thoughts and fears of those families that lost their lives. Is well is these folks who -- injured. But also a very big thank you. To the first responders the police officers the firefighters the EMTs paramedics. And nurses -- doctors. They save lives. They save lives. After the tornado struck they put themselves at risk. And also thank you to the mayor and the governor. Congressman to show the leadership. As well as the emergency management community I would -- -- wanted to leave his in the country. Emergency management and thank you believe. One thing that's important secretary mentioned -- want to reiterate its very important for those affected to register how. There's three ways that no one. 80621. -- Go to disaster assistance -- Are they have a Smartphone. Bingo room and dot FEMA dot gov and register to help on this Smartphone that's very important. For people to register as soon as possible so we can get some of these systems on the assistance that they need. There's also. To disaster recovery centers that are opening today there are others who opened over the next few days in -- of people who didn't go there not only registered to get. Person a person helpful with any. Secretary mentioned it. We've -- what was here before it is on struck. Working closely with the same local and our job is to support the governor and to support the local officials. We did before his arm will -- after the song we're going to be here for as long as it takes. Oklahoma and more in Oklahoma City. -- Gelman got. -- and -- to want to sit on behalf. Every client dinner our crops our hearts and prayers just go out to families to. Lost everything and particularly. Those last four alliances. Such terrible tragedy. Anaheim is changing a disaster. And this is for a time. And our prayers certainly and the people of -- -- that we are on the ground -- her findings. Shelter and comfort. We have a number of six sites where we are providing food we have. Emergency response vehicles that are driving around -- -- an area they're awesome providing food we have more on their way. As well. Interns in shelters emergency shelters around the area. You can find them by looking at our shelter -- -- getting on our web site. This agency industry Kate it. And -- comfort we have. Disaster service it's where we have mental health counselors. They're providing comfort. Hudson. Emotional support. Those sites also have live distribution I -- certain things being punished this weekend. On -- distribution in these things -- arson. -- and mops and -- things and help people sit through their belongings and hone their lives back together again. We -- will be here as long as a community needs us. We have local chapter here ST chapter here and make sure -- -- -- here answer me any minute -- We can feel. In terms of gas. Oklahoma's remarkably prepared. He's learned -- -- station is considered a loss of life. If you want to learn about what to do anything and for tornado. We have a free tornado. I would recommend that everyone downloaded so that they -- can be compared. And again -- plan saying the American public their support of the American red cross and they elected officials here -- ground first responders yours truly doing. More from -- thank you. Congressman Tom -- obviously I'm privileged to represent to hear them where is my home. And for a 53 years what happens here. It is extraordinarily important committees and I was -- -- quickly. Her -- -- -- masters disasters and that's Maryland loosen. C managed TV I mean first response is the first response and that nobody does. Those two gentlemen from the police and fire department around here -- probably too much experience have -- We're very very fortunate to have that quality of local leadership. Are counting people. Oh we have been wonderful in the next next later hearing. Couldn't ask for a better support -- we've got. My old friend my old colleague who served together in the legislature we certainly -- -- -- administration we served together. There's there's nobody. And all -- We were joking that has -- Must be planning to run against -- from her morning exposures created so much time here the last few days and she has been tireless and -- will sooner or later hang out here parliament and -- can -- -- still being worked out here. Goods we're just per -- I'm very proud Albert actually do -- and tell him we got to stop meeting like this we've been doing -- ever -- the Oklahoma City bombing. Say this and maps are treated as such a pleasure privilege to -- I'm sorry isn't of these certain. Chances. The president was kind enough after reducing with the governor reaching out this would mean I know is -- -- -- -- as well that's pretty extraordinary. First thing he did was appropriately. Murals and I want you know Michelle and I are praying for you guys and -- we know this stuff. And very difficult and then he really ticked off the resources that would be available from FEMA and from -- com. Mentioned obviously secretary would be here relatively short order and say look here anything you need -- thing in. What you call directly. That was incredibly generous and gracious gesture and frankly one that I -- I appreciate and cover everybody. Here guys and I -- it means so. I'm very very grateful for that. I'm also grateful and it's you know I know that commitments not just -- you guys are here but that's no longer term. Speaker of the house my friend John Boehner also made it very clear that they weren't working very bipartisan way beyond that actually does happen in Washington DC. Tragically usually something like this sometimes hopefully we can -- be honest and I have no doubt. A tremendous long term federal response from -- immediate needs and that nothing can replace. Family members and obviously there -- lost. Very tough when lives -- -- and it overturned and we can do some things -- we can't can't make it completely. Over the longer all others all sorts of infrastructure needs and things like that I have no doubt will work. Your child's already working with the state legislature in the short term and trying to. Get some things -- sent out so she's free to operate knew what she thinks is appropriate so again we're thank you and I wanted to use this in the a lot of media here thank you for -- -- because quite frankly every time -- covered not dealt with enough of these things. Americans are really remarkably compassionate decent people they see there's a need they respond and so. I believe they -- -- the red cross and the Salvation Army in the united way he's got a group of very quickly this because you show what's happening here. There's really decent people going through really difficult time responding really well we need some help and that's -- we we appreciate very much security here. As congressman Tom Cole. Taking to the podium there talking to us with the latest recovery efforts and how. The federal efforts have been coming in two more Oklahoma of course aside of that devastating tornado from Monday it's also on the ground there at the podium there was some Homeland Security secretary gen -- tunnel saying in fact that the federal resources have been put in place more than 400 FEMA. Workers are on the ground there trying to remove debris secretary of -- -- and that that. Usually the first objective in this recovering cleanup effort as well and also. Putting aside any kind of concerned that once the cameras leave that once the film crews leave in the news organizations clear out that FEMA will still be there. To help the town of more recover. From Monday's devastating tornado we're gonna continue with this news conference on our live stream and of course a complete report on abcnews.com. For now. I'm Dan -- and New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from ABC news.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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