- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

President Obama continued to receive updates overnight on the devastating tornadoes that blew across Moore, Okla., Monday, and he will deliver a statement in the State Dining Room at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

He spoke with Gov. Mary Fallin and Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican, expressing condolences and praising the first responders, and “made clear that the country would stand behind the people of Oklahoma as they continued to respond and recover,” a White House official said.

He declared a Major Disaster Declaration for the state overnight, which will make federal funding available to support individuals, as well as additional federal assistance to support immediate response and recovery efforts. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is traveling to Oklahoma Tuesday morning at Mr. Obama’s direction, and FEMA has been supporting the state’s response since Sunday.

Beginning Monday, 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.

• Three 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.

• Three 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 todisasterassistance.gov.

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, the official said.

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