Disaster Declaration: Deadly tornado in Texas | LiveNOW from FOX

Disaster Declaration: Deadly tornado in Texas  | LiveNOW from FOX

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I've seen more tornadoes than I can count I've never seen the level of decimation to a town as I've seen today well the people in this area have gone through over the past couple of days there's nothing short of horrific at the same time it's encouraging maybe even inspiring to see the way that the community Has Come Together worked together helped each other to begin the process of rebuilding they're working around the clock literally Non-Stop to rebuild as swiftly as possible and one thing that we know one thing that we've talked about and that is there is the ability to rebuild homes rebuild buildings rebuild City structures the one thing that cannot be rebuilt is a life unfortunately this devastating storm took three lives that cannot be rebuilt our prayers and the support of this entire community will remain with the families of those who did lose a loved one and as Governor I ask all Texans to join with us in praying for healing and Hope for the people devastated by this tragic tornado at the same time I want to thank the local hospital they treated 160 people in a hospital that has how many beds 25 beds Non-Stop heroic efforts by health care providers healing people and letting them go as quickly as possible so they could address the health needs of others probably something that this local hospital has never encountered before in the history of that hospital one thing that you see epitomized when you come into a room like this and visit with the local officials and the responders can be summed up in one word and that is resiliency there is a remarkable strength in resiliency in this community I know that they are going to rebuild because they have the spirit and the drive and the determination that is needed for a community like this to rebuild from such an unprecedented amount of decimation I heard from the mayor first thing the mayor says is something that typifies Who We Are as Texans first thing he said is that Texas is a very special place and it is because at times of events like these Texans Come Together We unite around each other in support of each other and that's exactly what the mayor has seen but also everybody else around this table has seen they've been working non-stop perhaps without any sleep at all but they've seen every hour of every day others from around the state who are working with them to address their needs that includes every state agency that can play a role in this process I want to thank members of the Texas Interstate fire Mutual Aid System Texas A M Forest Service Texas Department of Transportation Texas division of Emergency Management Texas Department of State Health Services Texas A M Engineering extension service the elite Texas Task Force One and Texas task force 2. that helped out on search and rescue missions Texas parks on wildlife 30 plus local fire departments from Texas and neighboring states that have come together and other state agencies that dropped everything to respond to this horrific storm as they may have made clear listen that the city and the community have enormous needs at this time financial needs assistance in rebuilding he said that many people lost absolutely everything these are people who are going to need help and so many homes too many homes destroyed buildings demolished the rebuilding process is probably something the city has never dealt with this level of magnitude ever before and we have made clear so the state of Texas and Texas state agencies are here to help in any way we can not just today but days going forward one person I'm joined with here today is your local state representative for Price who is a tremendous conduit of support for this community who will be working with me with my office and with state agencies to put together ways in which the state of Texas can help this community rebuild I want to thank all the First Responders have been involved in this process those some of whom are represented in this room many are out working as we speak everybody who's been working 24 hours a day to respond to this event when you drive into town you see truckloads of people moving things cleaning up debris people who are employees of government people who were just lending a helping hand people coming together to instill the beginnings of this community rebuilding relentlessly and we will be there every step of the way to help one of the great communities in this state one part that does that formally and officially is a disaster declaration and I've declared it but I haven't signed it I'm going to be signing it right now a disaster declaration made by the governor pursuant to the laws of the State of Texas that authorize This Disaster declaration that will trigger all the resources the state can bring to bear as well as other mechanisms such as being able to waive some statutory regulations that otherwise would slow down the process of rebuilding so that we can accelerate the ability to rebuild in This Disaster declaration I'm including two counties the occultry and Cass counties in This Disaster declaration and in this declaration it is summoning all the powers and assistance that the state can provide to these counties to accelerate the rebuilding process in addition to that this storm crossed the entire state from west to east and I'm also announcing a disaster declaration for five more counties in Northeast Texas Franklin County Wood County Marion County Harrison County and Upshur County also are having a gubernatorial disaster declaration made for those counties to do the same thing for them to help them in the rebuilding process I want to express my gratitude to Chief nem Kidd the chief of the Texas division of Emergency Management and his elite team for being able to get here almost instantaneously and assist local officials local agencies begin the rebuilding process and I want to thank all of the local public officials collectively for everything they have done even before this to make sure that certain decisions were made that led to better outcomes such as protecting the water system you could have had a disaster on top of a disaster had they not protected the water system the way they did but because of actions they had taken taken made sure that there would still be water flowing for most of the committee as we speak someone who is spearheaded this effort is your incredible mayor and may I want to turn things over to you now okay thank you governor it's a tough time for Perryton but we are tough and as the governor said we are resilient and we will overcome this and we will be stronger and stronger than ever and but in saying that we could not have done this without the great support of the great state of Texas Excel Energy oh my gosh and but all of these State agencies have like the governor said they've been here 24 7. as long as well as all of our local local people who have been working 24 7. we have a great community a strong community and we will come back from this and be better than ever it's a fact uh we're joined today by United States Senator Ted Cruz Senator thank you for taking time to be here thank you for your support and everything you do well thank you Governor let me let me commend all of the officials here on the ground let me commend police and fire and Emergency Management Everyone Has Come Together mayor you're doing a tremendous job this community is hurting this community is hurting mightily I spent the morning walking the damaged areas of Perryton with the mayor walking down Main Street historic Main Street buildings over 100 years old just devastated walking the communities one trailer park with just about every single trailer was absolutely destroyed the damage here is massive but at the same time I gotta say there's a pattern that you see Governor you and I and chief kid we've been at more disasters in Texas than we can count Texas is a big place with 30 million people and a whole lot of challenging weather situations and every time there's grief and suffering and loss of life and tremendous damage at the same time it is consistently inspiring to see how Texans respond to hardship to see Texans coming together walking down Main Street with the mayor person after person just came up and hugged the mayor and cried and each of them they're leaning on each other there was a woman an eye doctor in town whose store was destroyed on Main Street you saw the frames of the glasses scattered everywhere and she was wearing a t-shirt that really spoke to me it said God is in charge of even the wind and the rain and what a day to wear that shirt and I got to say what an incredible testimony is people are grieving I visited with a woman whose house collapsed around her and thank God she survived had a few cuts but came out all right her son who's autistic was in a car every other car was flattened on that street and he was saved she said it was like the hand of God came and saved that one car look this community is gonna hear those stories back and forth they're going to continue to be a lot of tear shed but at the same time the way perryton's going to make it through is each of you leaning on each other each of you holding each other up and and and I gotta say it's also wonderful to see that it's not just peritone you're not in it alone Texans from all over the state are coming up helping people from Oklahoma are coming coming to help people from Kansas are coming to help as we were clearing Rubble away there were several kids from Kansas a couple from Oklahoma who just came headed on over and they're all standing together and at a time of tragedy Texans stand Unified and so mayor I want you to know the entire state of Texas stands with you Texas is strong Perryton is strong and this community will come out of this stronger tomorrow than ever before thank you and now the chief of the Texas division of Emergency Management nimkit thank you Governor I want to I want to say how much I appreciate our local officials here and our First Responders the men and women that live in this town that dropped their own families and their own personal safety and went out to rescue those others they are they are an honor to our profession and I'm grateful for you leadership and the men and women that work with and for you that are taking care of their community I gotta tell you as I was here yesterday and touring some of the area and making sure we had the right resources Governor I was I was humbled by the citizens of this town the families that had just lost everything they were not sitting on the curb waiting for somebody to help them they were right in the middle of cleanup within hours after this storm passed I traveled this state a lot and do a lot of disasters I have never seen that kind of local community support and commitment to help themselves and to get their lives back in order and it is it's humbling to be in this community with you and I'm grateful for that um we're we're not leading our teams will be here at the governor's direction to support this city and these families and these communities as they rebuild and as they get their lives back in line um I got to tell you we have another round of weather coming tonight that message has got to get out to the communities those that are out there working we have it we're set up for another round of severe weather storms wind and potential tornadoes tonight our First Responders are going to stay here with this community we're not leaving we will be here with you and and we're going to we're tied to you until mayor until you and the judge and the sheriff are ready for us to go back home we're here with you and finally Life Safety has got to continue to be our number one priority uh as we get into these long hours long days and long nights and working we need all of the citizens that are out there to be sure that they're getting some work rest Cycles in where they can there is a lot of donated food there are a lot of donated resources and will continue to work with the city to make sure that those donations are accepted and distributed appropriately thank you guys very good thank you we'll take a few questions Governor what struck you the most when you were out touring and not just the damage but seeing the people actually out already trying to eat everything organized two things struck me the most one was the magnitude of the damage you don't see a lot of tornadoes that do different things but to see so much of a city or town destroyed the way that it was was just shocking but also the the incessant response there was a bustle of activity of people working perpetually to clean it up and shape it up as quickly as they could so it was kind of like the the worst of Worlds but the best of Worlds at the same time with a city ripped apart but people of that town uh not deterred but determined to make sure that they were going to get their Town back in order I'm not sure whether this question would be for you but one of the key things the mayor said is we're going to have to have money somebody that loses a house is a business what without getting too specific can Texas do to help well I will tell you there's a different ordering of events uh when something like this happens uh the first is we make damage assessments uh and see who's been damaged and and issue about damage assessments is whether or not there's any type of insurance and so we have to go through that calculation and and then when the damage assessments are made there are several different uh uh Avenues to go down uh first you look to whether or not we will be able to make a federal disaster declaration second if not that uh seat to tap into small business loans SBA Loans there will be some other potential Federal resources available and then we can look at state-based resources and that's one thing that me and my staff will be working on with representative for price to see what can be done at the state level as as well as other avenues but we we know without a doubt there's going to be a need for financial resources and being able to rebuild this community and then along those times also I'll tell you this and that is theory is an outpouring of Texans that always step up and help out and I think the mayor later today will be announcing uh online sites where people can go and make donations I know there are plenty of Texans that are really willing and able to step up and help out [Music] I received a phone call from the FEMA director yesterday and who offered the support of FEMA at the federal level and also on the phone call was the regional director for FEMA FEMA Tony Robinson and so we discussed this yesterday and again the the administrator for FEMA said that they stand ready to assist Texas in any way or any need that we have Governor what do you hope to accomplish with share our visit here today for one I needed to see for myself what happened that informs not just me but I take that information back to the Capitol and we'll be working with my team as as well as with the legislature to make sure that Texas will be able to respond to this as robustly as possible and there again just to continue to repeat uh my work with representative for price is critical to make sure that Texas as a state is going to be able to respond and the the best most forceful way that we can to the damage is suffering that this community is dealing with and so being able to see that firsthand but also getting to visit with the local leaders and hear what their needs are hear what their response is to be able to thank them for what they have done but this is something that requires action but at the same time is inspiring to see the way this community is collectively responding to this disaster and Governor your state is anticipating record setting Heat this week is the state ready specifically the power bridge that prepared to handle that high demand sure so I've been in touch with the head of ercot to make sure that the power grid is going to be able to respond to what may be a record power demand and he says they are and there's been a lot more power added to the grid since last summer last summer we set 11 new all-time records for power to man and we were able to meet it with ease without any emergency measures whatsoever and we believe that because of the added power but also because of tools that exist now that did not exist before the laws that I signed last session there's greater flexibility on the part of both the puc and ercot to be able to summon the power that's going to be needed to ensure that there will be no shortage of power this summer a similar thing happened in Amarillo about two or three weekends ago so can you just talk about the procedures of the alerts and why some people are not getting notified about them sure I'm going to answer part of that and I'll have Chief kid answer part of it but so obviously one thing that we want to see happen is to make sure that our property alerts are issued if I could go back to where I begin today as a kid growing up in Wichita Falls and this is back in the 1950s and 60s one thing that would occur would be the sirens in the communities that would go off whenever a tornado was coming our way and it was it enabled us to get shelter immediately and so we want to ensure in whatever community that the appropriate alert mechanism whether it be digitally or through Sirens or whatever the case may be is going to be in place those are the kinds of things that we evaluate on an ongoing basis there are different systems that are used in different communities and we want to make sure that communities do have them available so that the residents will be able to take shelter but go ahead Chief thank you governor and listen this is really where we need your help in getting this message out there is not a lack of notification systems there's a lack of awareness usually by the citizens we have so many competing interests right now trying to gather our attention but for several days before this event we've been having Statewide conference calls with our local Partners the National Weather Service the severe weather center the southern region home they have all put out messaging it's all over social media just like the messages that we're talking about right here for tonight's storms we are going to continue to talk about that message you're going to continue to share it there will probably still be some people that say they didn't get the message so we need to be working together to make sure that we touch every citizen in these impacted areas that will happen through electronic communications some communities do have local outdoor warning siren systems that are out there but really you are our biggest megaphone in helping get that message out so please be sure you're pushing that message out to all the citizens in the impacted areas as well one more question guys Senator Cruz in my life but we are obviously uh politically divided nation amidal that a lot and I just like personally say on behalf of our fellow deplorables we appreciate it however when something like this happens obviously we don't come in as Republicans and Democrats or Independents we come as friends as neighbors and as human beings and and we love one another and those things are very minimal at a time like this I want to hear your thoughts on that aspect well thank you very much look you're exactly right in in a time of disaster uh there are no Democrats or Republicans we aren't white Black Or Hispanic we aren't rich or poor we're Texans and over and over again you see that you see Texans just stepping up and and helping people earlier this morning we visited with the woman who owns the local movie theater the Ellis theater a beautiful classic theater that was badly damaged and you know she was saying she didn't know if she's going to be able to rebuild or not I hope and pray she is able to rebuild the mayor said that that they're going to work to help her rebuild but what was amazing is where we saw her she wasn't worried about her theater she was loading food because Tyson's delivered a whole truck of food she was loading boxes of food to go deliver to families who need it the mayor owns the local Furniture Store his store was badly damaged in the tornado he doesn't know when that's going to be rebuilt but he wasn't out there worrying about that store he was worrying about helping other people in the community and and that is a pattern over and over again and I want to in particular emphasize the churches look the role of the church the church every day should be helping those in need but especially now especially in a time of Crisis that that the church should be showing God's love by providing shelter providing food providing care going and and helping helping people rebuild and and and you know Chief kids said this very well this is not going to be over today or tomorrow this is going to continue a long time and it's going to be the community it's going to be the church it's going to be Texans helping Texans and and you know this morning the mayor and I were talking to a bunch of young teenagers and 20-somethings that were out volunteering at a point that was made exactly on on your question was you know there are all sorts of things that that divide us that we argue about that at a time a crisis some somehow don't seem to be nearly as important as they seemed yesterday and and and that's a good message for all of us to remember is there an app that folks need to to download that maybe they didn't get that message is there any outdoor siren system did that work so for the local siren system local community I'll turn that back over to the city but I'll answer the first part of that question is there are multiple mobile applications whether it's the weather center any of the weather apps that are out there online I mean my phone has four or five of them that know where the phone is and any severe weather alerts in that area put out by the National Weather Service go to that phone we would ask that you help us get that message out maybe give some examples of some of those apps the citizens with smartphones can download the National Weather Service had been pushing a lot of messaging out about the potential for severe weather days before the event we know that has gone out to Media Outlets into our local Partners but we need help is getting that message to the citizens great thank you everyone sorry yeah can we go ahead and get that Andrew real quick sure the city of Perry does have a funk did have a functional outdoor siren system we do have procedures it was we we activate when uh verified by on-ground spotters or within anytime the National Weather Service issues a warning we were under a watch at the moment that they went to a warning are people when when they went to activate we lost power throughout town with loss of electricity at the moment it hit thank you all very much thank you

2023-06-19 12:58

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