National Guard's tornado, flood response jumps to 5,000 over past week
June 6, 2011
ARLINGTON, Va., June 6, 2011 -- In the aftermath of severe storms that have brought devastating tornadoes to areas of Missouri and Massachusetts and major flooding across the Midwest and other parts of the U.S., the number of citizen-Soldiers who are answering the call for help has risen to about 5,000.
Guard members are performing domestic operations for flood relief support in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Vermont and Wyoming.
Operations in these states include transportation and aviation support, levee patrols and security, assisting local and federal civilian emergency management agencies, evacuation support, search and rescue operations and sandbag operations.
In areas of Montana, Vermont and Wyoming, heavy rains mixed with the melting of larger-than-usual snow packs, has created a recipe for rising waters to occur and the evacuation of citizens in Washington County, Vermont.
North and South Dakota have about 3,000 Guard members who are still battling flood waters after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened oversaturated up-river dams earlier this week along the Missouri River.
Louisiana and Mississippi Guard members remain vigilant in their battle against the waters of the Mississippi River after severe storms swelled the river earlier this year. Operations continue in both states, where about 1,200 Guard members are currently operating.
Tornados have been another part of these heavy storms recently, and parts of Massachusetts and Missouri have both seen unbelievable damage.
About 450 citizen-Soldiers and Airmen were on duty the morning after tornadoes tore across the Massachusetts area on June 1, and currently about 675 are on state active duty.
Officials have confirmed three deaths from the storms and said a fourth death, an elderly man who died of apparent cardiac arrest, may not have been tornado-related, said a Reuters report
Dozens were also injured and damage hit 19 Massachusetts communities and tens of thousands of residents were without power after the severe weather, according to civilian media reports.
The Missouri National Guard has about 275 Missouri Guard members performing various domestic operations in the Joplin, Mo., area after a major twister leveled large portions of that city May 22, which resulted in the deaths of about 140 citizens and devastated the local hospital.
Operations in both Missouri and Massachusetts include search and rescue, debris removal and cleanup, health and wellness checks, assisting local and federal emergency responders and damage assessment, said Guard officials.