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Obama team overnight response to Oklahoma tornados tragedy

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Below, from a White House official:

The President continued to receive updates overnight from his team on the ongoing response to the devastating tornados and severe weather that impacted Oklahoma Sunday night and Monday. Last night, following his call to Governor Mary Fallin, the President also spoke with Congressman Tom Cole to express his concern for those who had been impacted and his deep condolences for the many who have lost loved ones as a result of the horrible tornados. The President praised the brave first responders, and made clear that the country would stand behind the people of Oklahoma as they continued to respond and recover.

Overnight, the President approved a Major Disaster Deceleration for Oklahoma, making federal funding available to support affected individuals, as well as additional federal assistance to support immediate response and recovery efforts.

This morning the President will receive a briefing in the Oval Office on the response by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco and other senior members of the President's response team.

Following that briefing the President will deliver a statement in the State Dining Room. That statement is expected around 10 a.m. and will be pooled press.

At the President's direction, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is traveling to Oklahoma this morning to ensure all Federal resources are supporting our state, local, and tribal partners in life saving and safety operations including search and rescue.

FEMA has been supporting the state's response since Sunday. At the request of the state, FEMA deployed a liaison to the state emergency operations center Sunday night.

Beginning yesterday, FEMA deployed additional resources including:

· An Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to the state emergency operations center in Oklahoma City to coordinate with state and local officials in support of recovery operations.

· 3 national Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams and an additional Incident Support Team have been activated to support the immediate response efforts.

· A Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) Team is in Oklahoma to provide self-sustaining telecommunications, logistics, and operations support elements, to assist in the immediate response needs.

· Preliminary damage assessment (PDA) teams are on the ground and will begin assessments today, which will assist the state in identifying additional eligible federal assistance that may be warranted.

· 3 Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams are scheduled to arrive later today to help impacted residents register for disaster assistance. Survivors can register for assistance right now by calling 1-800-621-3362 or by going to

Following the Major Disaster Declaration, additional resources beyond these immediate assets will also be available to support response and recovery efforts, including for affected individuals and small business.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 21, 2013 7:50 AM.

President Obama official schedule and guidance May 21, 2013. Oklahoma tornado response was the previous entry in this blog.

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