Cleaver visits Orrick, backs federal disaster aid

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, said Wednesday that parts of Jackson, Saline and Ray counties should be declared federal disaster areas in the wake of this weekend’s devastating storms and tornados.
He officially requested that Gov. Jay Nixon seek this designation from the President, as is the process, as well as pursue hazard mitigation statewide.
A tornado, described by some as an EF-2 or EF-3 level storm, went through the town of Sibley, before crossing the Missouri River and ripping through Orrick. Another tornado, an EF-1, also touched down in Saline County, near Marshall, producing winds in excess of 100 mph.

Cong. Emanuel Cleaver, center, tours Orrick school

Cong. Emanuel Cleaver, center, tours Orrick school

“It is hard to imagine, even with pictures, the extent of what this tornado did to Orrick,” the congressman said. “It ripped through more than 70 percent of this town, devastating everything in its path. Families have lost virtually everything. Streets and roadways are destroyed or damaged. It could be six months or longer before children are even allowed inside the school building for classes.”
Local leaders, including the mayor of Orrick and Ray County Commissioners, have asked for federal government assistance. Members of the public are rjoining with local officials to clean up the destruction and debris, but say more assistance is crucial for the town to get back on its feet. An evaluation of the damage is still under way.
The tornado:
• Was on the ground for more than 11 miles.
• Damaged and/or destroyed between 200-300 homes and 3 churches.
• Damaged the school so extensively parts of the roof are ripped off, wires are exposed and hanging from the ceiling, walls are missing, and windows are shattered.
“Citizens of Orrick have lost their livelihoods as the summer growing season approaches, but remain forever thankful that no lives were lost,” said Congressman Cleaver. “I am committed to fighting for them, so they get the immediate help they need, as we work together to rebuild and renew areas destroyed by this devastating storm.”

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