Yesterday’s storms and the violent tornado that destroyed much of South OKC and Moore today have claimed many lives (an accurate count is not yet available), caused incalculable damage, and created a deep need in our state. If you feel moved to help, here are some simple ideas to make a big difference, whether you live here in Oklahoma or half-way around the world.
1. Avoid the Affected Area
Officials in Oklahoma City and Moore are re-routing traffic and asking residents to avoid the impacted area while first responders continue their work of locating survivors. Debris is piled high, and roads are virtually impassible, except on foot. First responders are working to neutralize the threats of explosions and fires due to gas leaks and downed power lines. The governor has called out the National Guard to aid in the rescue, and the stated policy is that looters will be shot on sight. The disaster area is NOT a safe place, and going there only impedes rescue workers. If you are not part of the rescue effort, and you do not live in the affected area, please steer clear. There are many other ways to help.
2. Locate Loved Ones
If you have been unable to get in touch with a friend or family member in Oklahoma, check the Red Cross’s “Safe and Well” registry. If you wish to let your loved ones know that you are well, but you are having difficulty getting a message out, sign the registry so others can find you. The link is below. Please share this link with everyone you know, even if you live far away, so that everyone will know where to search for news of their loved ones.
3. Text More, Call Less
Cell service is still spotty and jammed up throughout much of our area. Officials are asking that we communicate as much as possible via internet and text messages rather than phone calls. This should ease the burden on our overtaxed communications systems. Also, please spread the word that many calls are not reaching their intended recipients. If your loved one can’t be reached by phone, don’t assume the worst. It is likely that they are perfectly well, but the call simply did not go through.
4. Donate to Rescue and Recovery Effort
Local News Affiliate KWTV 9 will be accepting donations for Oklahoma tornado relief. Donations will go to the OK Red Cross.
Make checks payable to “Oklahoma Relief Red Cross”
Mail or deliver to:
KWTV News 9 Studio
7401 N. Kelley
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
If you live in the Oklahoma City area, the following items are being requested for the rescue and recovery effort:
gloves, boots, toiletries, trash bags, shovels, sunscreen, dust masks, and above all, cash.
Donations are being accepted now at the above address. Please help if you can!
5. Feed Displaced Survivors
Text FOOD to 32333 to give $10 to the Oklahoma City Food Bank to help with relief efforts.
6. Remember Our Animal Friends
Many pets are roaming the streets, separated from their families. The Animal Resource Center is taking in pets that have been displaced by the storm. If you find a lost pet, you can take it to the Animal Resource Center, where it will be safe. The Animal Resource Center is located just north of Moore at I-240/I35 junction.
7949 S. I35 Service Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73149
The Oklahoma Humane Society is also assisting with housing and transporting injured animals, and providing veterinary care. You can make a donation to the Oklahoma Humane Society by completing the Donation Form at the link below:
7. Show Solidarity
It’s a little thing, but to someone who has just lost everything, it means that others care. Seeing an expression of support on a Facebook page might mean that in a far-off place, someone who might never have seen a tornado is sending love and good wishes. Love and good wishes won’t bring back the dead, or rebuild a home, but they aren’t nothing. Choose from one of the images below. It doesn’t cost anything, and you never know what it might mean to someone.