CNHI News Service



OKLAHOMA CITY ? Gov. Brad Henry said Tuesday the state of Oklahoma is committing resources and manpower to help hurricane victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

"Oklahoma has made a pledge to help the Gulf states in any way we can while emergency responders in that region continue to assess the terrible impact of Hurricane Katrina," the governor said.

"Oklahomans know all too well the fury unleashed by natural disaster, but we also know the importance of compassion, generosity and a shared commitment to overcome adversity," Henry said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as they seek to recover and rebuild from these deadly storms."

As part of an interstate mutual-aid agreement, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management continues to receive requests for assistance related to Hurricane Katrina. During the next 48 hours, the following resources will be dispatched to the hurricane-ravaged areas:

? The Oklahoma Military Department is sending two Blackhawk helicopters and nine crew members to assist in water search-and-rescue operations.

? An OEM human services coordinator will head to the storm-damaged region to assist with feeding, sheltering and volunteer and donation management issues.

? One aerial damage assessment team with the Oklahoma Civil Air Patrol will help local, state and federal officials evaluate the damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

? Three area foresters of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry are being dispatched to help clear storm debris from roadways.

Gov. Henry said Oklahomans stand ready to provide further help.

"During this difficult and challenging period, I urge Oklahomans who want to help to consider monetary donations to a disaster-relief agency of their choice, such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army or any of the faith-based organizations," he said. "These agencies are working hard to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, just as they have helped Oklahomans in our times of crisis."

If OEM receives additional resource requests through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, other resources of equipment, personnel and supplies might be sent to the affected areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Under the EMAC, more than 200 Oklahomans came to the aid of Floridians following last year's hurricanes in that state.

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