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Nebraska response rapid

Response efforts moved quickly in the wake of four tornadoes that struck in and around the town of Deshler, Neb., Sunday.

BY SUSAN KIM | DESHLER, Neb. | June 24, 2003

Response efforts moved quickly in the wake of four tornadoes that struck in and around the town of Deshler, Neb., Sunday.

In Deshler, home to 879 people, damage assessments showed nine homes were destroyed, 15 have major damage, and 39 have minor damage.

A field command post has been established in Deshler, according to Brent Curtis of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The Salvation Army is providing food and drinks while Mennonite Disaster Service is helping clean up debris. A Church World Service disaster response and recovery liaison has been monitoring faith-based response.

Water service has been restored in Deshler with a boil order, and electrical power has been partially restored. Full restoration of electricity may take up to three days for some of the more heavily damaged areas in Deshler, said Curtis.

Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns toured Deshler on Monday and declared the county a disaster area.

The town of Hubbell, Neb., population 55, suffered considerable flooding, said Curtis. There, NEMA has been working with the National Guard, Nebraska State Patrol, and local emergency responders to coordinate multiple rescues via helicopter and watercraft in flooded out areas.

Sunday night's storm system produced the largest hailstone on record for Nebraska, with hail measured at 6.5 inches in diameter, with more than a 17-inch circumference, near Aurora, Nebraska.

One person was killed during the storm Nebraska's first tornado death since 1988 and seven people were injured.

Deshler is located about 75 miles southwest of Lincoln near the Kansas line.

Northern Kansas sustained storm damage as well. Several homes in a rural area outside of Courtland, Kan. were damaged.


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