BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Kansas Department of Emergency Management (KDEM) is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help determine if victims of the Baxter Springs tornado will be eligible for federal Individual Assistance, the state agency announced on Tuesday.
"This tornado cut a swath through the heart of Baxter Springs," said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general and director of KDEM. "Many people lost their homes, businesses and just about everything they own. We will continue working to provide resources to assist this community."
The requested joint Preliminary Damage Assessment would involve KDEM, FEMA, and the Small Business Association and could begin as soon as Wednesday.
Its results will also be combined with a report about the economic impact of the damage to determine if the a federal disaster declaration can be requested, explained KDEM.
Federal Individual assistance could include financial help for a wide variety of uses, crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance, legal service, and special tax considerations.
Baxter Springs was hit by an EF2 tornado on Sunday. Early assessments indicate it destroyed nearly 100 homes and a dozen businesses. Gov. Sam Brownback declared a State of Disaster Emergency that day.
KDEM also said it shut down its State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka Tuesday. It was partially opened on Sunday.
“The situation in Baxter Springs has de-escalated to the point the city and county no longer needs our immediate assistance for emergency response,” said Angee Morgan, KDEM deputy director. “They’ve moved into the recovery phase and we will continue to coordinate support as needed.”
The Salvation Army sent two mobile feeding units to Baxter Springs. Each unit, also called canteens, are able of feeding up to 2,000 people a day. They will be providing social services at Trinity Worship Center, 225 E. 16th Street, in Baxter Springs.
On Monday, the Salvation Army said it served 133 meals, 131 drinks, and 126 snacks.
People who live in Baxter Springs will be able to apply to The Salvation Army for direct assistance for immediate aid on Tuesday. The assistance is meant to help pay for food, shelter, personal care items, and medicine.
You can help The Salvation Army provide assistance. They say the best way to help is with a monetary contribution, by phone to 1-800-SAL-ARMY [1-800-725-2769] or by mail, send your check, marked "Baxter Springs Tornado" to:
THE SALVATION ARMY
Kansas City, MO 64111
or locally to:
THE SALVATION ARMY
PO Box 599
Topeka, KS 66601
Posted by: Nick Viviani