The Red Cross sent blood, supplies and professional staff members to Joplin, Mo., on Monday but kept its volunteers in the state in case Oklahoma should be hit with its own severe weather.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with those who lost loved ones or have suffered through these deadly storms,” Janienne Bella, American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma CEO, said Monday. “The Red Cross already has people on the ground to help in these communities, and more are on the way today.”
Supplies shipped to areas affected by Sunday's storms included comfort kits, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies. Staff members sent to Missouri were primarily health care and mental health workers.
“At this time, volunteers from Oklahoma are on standby for the possibility of severe weather in our own state before being deployed to Missouri,” Bella said in a news release.
Other agencies that sent aid to the Joplin area included the Oklahoma City Fire Department, which sent two teams of rescue dogs Sunday night.
Some Oklahoma hospitals sent supplies and workers to Joplin, while others accepted Missouri tornado victims as patients.
Victims started arriving at Integris Baptist Regional Health Center in Miami soon after the tornado hit, showing up in private vehicles and by ambulance about 7 p.m. Sunday, said nursing supervisor Terri Cox.
Monday, 81 tornado victims were treated in Miami, with 29 admitted to the hospital. Cox said two people were in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit. One patient went to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.
Cox, who worked a day shift Sunday, stayed overnight as the victims continued to arrive.
“Everyone is from Joplin,” Cox said. “We're hearing some incredible stories right now.”
Another 45 tornado victims from Joplin were sent to Springfield, Mo., where the hospitals are full. St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin was closed due to heavy tornado damage, and all patients were sent to other hospitals.
Doctors and nurses from Integris Grove General Hospital helped out at the Miami hospital, and some workers were sent to Joplin, spokeswoman Kristi Wallace said. The hospital also accepted patients from Joplin, she said.
The Grove hospital sent a bus to Joplin to help take patients to other hospitals in the region, said Integris spokeswoman Brooke Cayot in Oklahoma City. She said medical supplies from Grove were sent to Joplin and to the Miami hospital.
Thirteen tornado victims, all in stable condition, were taken to the Grove hospital. Most had fractures and bruising, Wallace said.
The Red Cross provided 75 units of blood to a hospital in Pittsburg, Kan., for those affected by the storm. Additional blood was shipped to hospitals in northeast Oklahoma.
CONTRIBUTING: Sheila Stogsdill, State Correspondent