Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on Tornado Aftermath

State starts to recover after storm decimates entire neighborhoods in Moore, Oklahoma.
3:00 | 05/21/13

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Transcript for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on Tornado Aftermath
This is a special report from ABC news. Look what I'm -- cuts or New York this ABC news digital special report -- -- -- taking an Oklahoma where the governor there is holding a news conference on -- devastation and cleanup efforts from a tornado that struck yesterday so let's listen in to governor Mary -- Thank -- match and I just want to thank the media for -- to dad to help. Park community get information is critical time like this think -- -- Helping with the the planners disaster services in. And it being able to help our search and rescue we appreciate you it's been a very trying a couple of days for the state of Oklahoma -- it's a sad time Forrest again as we've experienced almost. Horrific storms and disasters. That this state has ever face that -- in the midst of tragedy and loss of life we've also seen -- resilience and courage and strength of our people. And we will get through this we will over -- and we will reveal. Now regain our strength. Our hearts and prayers are certainly -- those that lost their loved ones -- -- very very hard experience heartbreaking experience especially the loss of children. And the school -- -- those who have. To find their loved ones are still waiting to hear. -- and we frankly don't know yet. If there are still missing people but they're still may be so are our first and foremost. -- emergency and and goal is to have rescue and recovery. Make sure that we covered every piece of debris and -- through every piece of paper -- building. Peace Atlantis out to see if there might be. Someone that and survive this morning hours experience them. Injuries it's now. I had the opportunity few moments ago taking aerial term to fly along the path the turning analysts now. It is very -- and in his heart to look at. Because -- match victory on the ground -- now. In many places homes were absolutely. Destroyed taken away -- sticks and Hendricks basically. It's hard to tell there's destruction there are not begin -- major neighborhood -- you can't. -- where the street -- street signs are gone and it's been a big challenge for us as being determined. Which area community he might be in because they just the streets purchased them honest -- just gone. So we've been working very hard to you identifying various areas need. This period why this -- it's about twenty miles long. He has made connecting -- -- house and where it is -- -- or the schools and gaps and that terrible destruction. Schools. Certainly the business community and -- Friends and neighbors lost their homes -- We are very sad about come on it personally -- administrator seagate. Has joined is here with FEMA. They have -- -- superb job -- working with our city and state and federal. Leaders here we appreciate you administrator we appreciate your very -- Response and answering our disaster declaration of force say -- giving his approval on that. Page you know administered not only did we have the storm passed yesterday and we also had storms also -- -- lost homes and businesses on Sunday. This storm action the end of world cruises -- state of Oklahoma. So thank you for your assistance. House -- a second phone call a few months ago from -- Obama. Once again reiterating that FEMA is here to help. To bring any resources to bear. Countless -- and any time for red tape that he might wiedmeyer ran across. And several other cabinet secretaries -- called -- to express their partners offer assistance. And we really appreciate all the demon is dying. Some analysts say it -- to all the first responders. Some -- fire police. And emergency personnel. The office of emergency management director Albert -- sixteenth -- coordinating on the state level. Thank you very very -- and job well done. To help so many people that are in need his -- -- and big. A tragedy for the state and it's not easy to handle something this magnitude I know that many people have worked around the clock. And it's an extremely long hours under dangerous circumstances -- our fellow oklahomans. We're very grateful for all of you. I want to give you -- a couple of updates on on some things we have what's called a unified command led by the more. Far department may have done a superb job and working with their local officials here and certainly with our state and federal officials. They have it planned there. Again they're implementing the plan and they have -- -- today. I've been to their command headquarters I've seen an organizer -- teens -- -- had the man. The city is out both -- and Oklahoma City which they've been sitting out there is teens in determining what that. Most important need is at that particular moment so. Thank you and -- job well done to the command team is now. -- 9 AM this morning I brought together all my cabinet secretaries from. -- -- Hands and -- agencies. Or the state of Oklahoma and we had a -- meeting goings through each. Division -- stay in it to -- talking about the current needs and challenges facing. The state of Oklahoma. We want to encourage anyone that is currently still in need in our state to call 180621. FEMA. If he -- services if you need some time that helped -- -- the community needs some help our department needs some help. -- also set -- a state web site that people can go to get current information. Do look at. Current the services that are available and. Be able to respond to the state government it is -- -- the web site is OK strong. Dot OK. Dot gas. And that eyewitness I had. We'll be updated throughout the day and throughout this time -- get through this. There were also -- Legislation that we are working on right now in the Oklahoma senate and the house that will be a legislative vehicle. To be able to tap our state rainy day savings account. To set -- an emergency fund for the state to be able to match federal dollars. And also help our local communities. Are in need services in fattening right now. Lot of communities are tapping their local resources certainly fire personnel -- working overtime. And there are a lot of departments are having to utilize some other funding and it'll also help those matching some of the individuals who. Applied for the federal assists as an individual basis that have -- things and to help reimburse local communities. -- also signed an executive order that won't waive the weight limits for utilities that are coming into Thursday and working again Tuesday. -- pound weight and height to help get power back restored yet feathery essentially utilities services. Flowing again we have. Many different areas -- -- to say that without much electricity. I have personally been without water in this local area. The city is and -- water pressure is actually low in Oklahoma City -- because my bar power supplies and is expected more than. The water plants. I am aware that we have some state employees. That have been affected by the -- -- -- Wednesday calling this one that once in previous days and so for state employees. That have lost their homes and I'm not aware of any of them have lost loved ones back. If that worked through their agency hand we are going to give our state police have been affected fifteen days administrative leave. So they won't have to take there vacation leave others believed to be able to get back on their feet and to take care of their personal needs. -- this with our secretary of health and human services. We have been working with our local hospitals and nursing associations. Can also that state funeral directors. And we have plenty capacity and our hospital to take those that have been injured. We estimate there -- around two hundred thirties and injuries so far that we now. Then have -- -- and -- very societies. We also are working to say that mental health counseling centers. In our various shelters and will be working to establish -- 800 number for those needs counseling that have lost loved plans aren't just. Faced them this time. Stress on all this on going on we don't have any firm numbers on the number at dance that we have experienced. Re we know that there are. People -- -- and bodies have been taken to the medical Examiner's office that we involves hurt. That figure may -- bodies -- -- and taken to local funeral homes so. We are working real hard right now to try to get more accurate count the loss of life -- we have to have better numbers on man. Our Department of Transportation. Has pulled together and over 400 people throughout the state that are on standby. To bring in on various bulldozers equipment -- that time. Items that we need state began a process that happened to clear the roads better. Certainly two keep those eighth and we will be certainly allowing people to do with the need to do you get there. -- -- Possessions. Through the lost property that they had experienced -- we will also have the resources available to the Hamilton. It began precarious point in time in the future. -- genie is working very hard to restore power. We have had a 38000 residents at this point in time that without power 20000 and more in Oklahoma City. Things -- working to get that power back. What are the other challenges that we face throughout this time period has been problems with communications -- -- service and -- telephone lines and Dan. An AT&T and Verizon has some mobile in his -- about better communication. Forest the Department of Agriculture forestry has also brought in heavy equipment to help when the time -- -- debris clearing. And just one -- and that for those that are calling and offering help and resources. Please make contact with our various charities -- Red Cross. More donations and volunteer help and also with the Salvation Army they're the best horse right now to get information to you. My issues are not very interesting night start out early morning going to other communities -- I have experience. Damage from the tornadoes that hit on Sunday from his -- -- -- communities and Albert actually art director and I've gone down together. To those communities and we started hitting back around. About 1 o'clock percent of his -- masonic -- it was -- to get that wasn't bad in Oklahoma that time it's -- When did it the -- was unstable Rick. He described that didn't in the atmosphere. And a person we need -- -- command center right now and she has -- around. -- -- after 2 o'clock -- started looking. Pretty bad outside and by three it was a very quick fast forming storms that came up fondness and the -- -- -- superb job. Along with the helicopter pilots of tracking the storm south and the evolution was exactly where it's almost proceeding that. They did it very quickly when I saw all these magnitude and the size of the storm on me. There is strain iPad is that we had a huge problem on our hands and there's going to be tremendous disaster and and possible loss of life in south. Swinging yeah we assembled our folks together when you got to give -- -- -- actually -- -- our National Guard members on. Activated their -- away. Point in the news exactly what had happened on Graham case we needed him. And then of course last night and all they usually -- down -- on the site and I ended up at the school. -- west tower. Probably about -- 1130 last night. Walking through -- man. Himself and just it is very surreal coming up onslaught against the west school there's just debris and -- just -- very high. It was hard to tell what was there. And to -- that we had children and that we had parents have been gone. Prior to that school looking for a child and in the very tough challenges that we had with communications where people weren't able to call. And were able to drive down the streets and had no television no. Prominent radio analyst -- and her car and not knowing where their loved ones -- and -- -- the adults than children themselves. Was this very frightening time I've known him instantly is and his he's. Don't know -- the upcoming summit may be missing. Saying this is a very hard experience that. I will tell you that as I was down at the school -- assault a second shift. -- fire fighters in the first. Probably is -- to be close to -- 500. Far Hanson and the yellow jackets and to see him -- Obama's side reading prepared him waves technology sector share and digging through rubble. I was as a heartwarming experience now how many people person and over. The other they're clear inventory for another slow numbers are thrown out last. I can only speculate as usual we have these things like this happen -- people speculate at some point. Being reported as fact that before that we have you know consider -- part of the twenty. So there's a total of twenty or -- nothing that would send us. -- -- Well right now they're open -- with an -- -- -- understand them. It is somewhat smaller area and we've had to deal whistle or we'll open. Much more quickly than us in this -- will -- I can answer I can answer for more. -- I can't believe anything -- you never. Not at those who died -- content to leave him alone and let them mourn and answer my. My thoughts and prayers and -- them I had met -- as a mother. That had two sons that claimed the schools that -- survive and as an infant children myself. Client -- -- other family members who had gotten news. Earlier today that they had lost someone and they finally found them and that was very hard to see an end here -- -- and for crying foul the church in -- facilities himself. They're all gone -- We -- we can talk about school -- principle that. If you like. You know with the help of federal emergency management -- refunded over a hundred schools -- -- Unfortunately the two schools that were hit that we're not funded. -- safer from. No it's up to livable jurisdiction to actually put -- which schools that they want to have. A safer and then and they usually look for -- multi purpose room whether it's a music room or pandora. They can also serve as a site. -- there -- applied for from those schools of saying. You have limited amount of funds that are placed on disasters you've had in the past -- for mitigation measures. And we have limited number of funds then. He set priorities on which schools and who do want to ask for social not a matter they were being left out for any reason. It was Amanda had been brought forward here. We're checking out there right now I -- we find it many in the in the Oklahoma City metro area. -- defined heavier and more challenging enough problems of Europe jurisdictions. But we're going to be looking at trying to number trying to get more safe rooms across schools across. The entire site. Children they rothwax. I don't promotional. I feel -- I don't tell you what the superintendent tell me that there's no place. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- You're everything safe. Not necessarily think when you talk about any kind of safety measures will there be a site -- -- to search your home -- whether -- -- school. There's a mitigating measures it's not -- -- -- absolutely. There's no guarantee that everyone will totally beside. Most of the time not 5% -- come -- like this. Taking proper tornado procedures and and precautions put in your own home you'll survive most torn this was a very unique -- away from -- -- obvious. Its procedures. Would have helped out in mitigating in the disaster. -- -- -- -- -- Or keep -- yeah areas plus tells us. Couple -- in the -- They didn't there. Are they -- -- search and rescue and recovery yes we are Philip. Pleasant cars we've been there all night where -- day and the -- -- themes and everyone else that are involved. But still actively going through -- -- Our homework in the schools that we know. It from there. Total. In the truck in the in the schools. These questions from the school attractive and I everything. A lot of no no survivors have been found recently -- -- -- -- I have not been given that number I don't know that was. Was released by the school system but that's not a number on that I'm aware of we have not been told -- Any students. At this time -- you. Dogs are not making any hints from. They will not declared that structure cleared until -- -- down into the ground have been through every miserable building. But I do not believe sort. Other bills Abrams. That you have a city who listen to review what happens. -- -- Yes for those recurrence. Our emergency manager had access that there's any unit was close and we have. Being going through those and you sort things have been going through those locations and tell us about the process and how you're doing is trying to find -- You don't have addresses -- -- half. -- -- -- -- The only way we have a funny insight from those who want to have been called into the city and listed by address and we we can pretty well still on our address -- we have -- pages. In my books and we have our -- -- and but it can pretty -- get us where we need to go away and when they didn't -- they're safe rooms they tell us what part of the structure there live. Source I don't think every house expecting maybe -- the sacred here. Every individual house and so we don't go to -- and so how's the search and rescue teams are going permanently to house looking. For everything and anything and if they need to and they take the dogs -- also. I do not know where that figure came from me how it. She that would be a question you need to grips with the highway -- Comfort did not qualify for. We're not able to. Four. Yeah that's that's not exactly the issue as I told you before. What we do as we -- our funding for has mitigation grant projects. It's based on the amount of disasters we've had the -- of certain parts aside for mitigating measures and we have projects that. Over the last couple of years we haven't had very serious disasters here in the state of Oklahoma so that -- kind of -- -- it was not a matter of any project being turned away are being turned down that was waiting for funding. That we could actually fun. If you think right now that we have a war. -- play -- And well again when you apply for site for Mars program -- -- -- like the city does. You have to give the -- -- of the people who are the interest and in giving -- safer. That doesn't mean that they can approve reverse side from him means that if we get the funding that we -- citizens who do supply everybody here. Yet what city Norman's anymore in Clinton county had they get a lottery to for the people that that that's in the end. We had a multitude of people applied. I'm Cleveland county has a list and we have an alternate list. And so if that money is made -- made available the -- more that the list -- we got first and then we'll go to the -- an analyst. Put the city. -- good guys kind of some of the people here got to leave. And go toward damage you do things like that so it Thursday when you're -- informed. -- -- -- -- well. They're gonna leave and -- some people be available for questions of thank you. -- news conference is going to be here. Tomorrow at noon. And I like to thank everybody for -- Please keep this in your thoughts and prayers in the next weeks and I'm. We're watching a news conference from Oklahoma -- Where the governor governor Mary Fallon has started off. Answer some questions and first and foremost thank you first responders to yesterday's tornado that struck it was -- -- four. Right now on meteorologists on the ground there have measured about a 190 mile an hour winds that -- -- look back. Could actually be. On the low end. Of the scale for the win strikes that -- hit three yesterday the governor saying that at this point they have a tally of 237. People that were injured. When that tornado hit -- just before 3 o'clock local time. Also from some of the services that are up and running for those people that were affected by the tornado the governor's and that mental health services will be available. Shelters of course are in place and the infrastructure as they're trying to get utilities and services and power back on to that area all trying to get those people. In some place for the evening as the search in the recovery. He is going on. The FEMA director Craig few -- also stepped up to the podium though and made essentially -- four point list for anyone that was affected. By this tornado. First and foremost registering with FEMA so that in fact those that are victims can receive the assistance from the federal government also. And advisory out there to use -- not a cellphone and less that is an absolute emergency that. -- FEMA director saying that the cell lines and many of the towers have been destroyed because the tornado and social service is rather limited so an urgent there to use text and not cellphones -- -- an emergency also to let loved ones -- your other family members no in fact that you are okay. And that being in part two as we heard from some of those officials there that the search and recovery. And rescue operations are still under way they're going from shelter to shelter now trying to account for those people that are in those shelters. And cross check that against with those that are you still missing. And the fourth point that the director had made was that for those that do want to offer their assistance. Not necessarily to go to that area because it is such an area of destruction. But even first responders are having a tough time navigating through the streets making their way through some of those hardest hit areas. But if you do have a desire to help out to donate to charities such as the Red Cross such as the Salvation Army. And of course the superintendent of more public schools made a very emotional statement of those. 24 people that were killed nine were children and those obviously those stories some of the most difficult to hear. The superintendent saying that in fact that the administrators yesterday did carry out their emergency preparedness plan. The best of their abilities but in fact the school is reviewing -- plan that they have in place and that they did operate under yesterday. And as you can see the recovery still going on -- some of these pictures are coming out today. Less than 24 hours after that tornado hit through Moore Oklahoma. We'll have a complete report on abcnews.com. As well as ways that you can help out. Incidentally Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star Kevin to -- So struck by the devastation yesterday donated a million dollars to help in those recovery efforts and he tweeted this out saying pray for the victims of the tornadoes. In okay see these last few days everybody. Stay safe the town of more -- the entire state of Oklahoma looking for a lot of help. And a lot of hope in the coming days ahead. More information available on abcnews.com. I'm Dan Butler and New York. With -- ABC news digital special report. This has been a special. -- from ABC news did.

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

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