Governor Brad Henry said Tuesday he is “sincerely impressed” with the leadership that has guided the Miami area through the current record-breaking flood event.
“Everyone came together … they know what to do … they are advising residents, saving lives and saving property,” Henry said. “I am impressed with the leadership and the local coordination and communication that is occurring among the local leaders .. you are to be commended.” Accompanied by state and local emergency management officials, Henry today toured flooded and flood-impacted areas in northeast and central Oklahoma.
“To see this devastation in person is truly heartbreaking,” Gov. Henry said.
“Thousands of Oklahomans have lost property and hundreds of homes have been damaged. Submerged roads and bridges are making travel in some communities virtually impossible.” The governor took an aerial tour of Miami before landing and visiting with victims and first-responders in the flood-damaged areas.
The governor then surveyed the Bartlesville area, South Coffeyville and Coffeyville, Kan., by helicopter, including a Coffeyville oil refinery that spilled more than 40,000 gallons of crude oil into the Verdigris River, where it is now flowing into Oklahoma rivers and streams.
Henry also traveled to Shawnee, where he landed to meet with flood victims.
Gov. Henry also met with emergency management personnel at each stop to learn of their needs first-hand.
“In some communities such as Miami - where floods are continuing and waters have yet to crest - the focus is on evacuating residents and protecting property,” Gov. Henry said.
“In other areas, such as Shawnee and Bartlesville, damage assessments are being conducted and I anticipate asking President Bush for assistance before the end of the week.
“The state is working with local and federal officials to see that the needs of everyone impacted are being met and to ensure a speedy recovery. The thoughts and prayers of all Oklahomans are with those who have suffered losses in the last week and those who are still displaced by high waters.”