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Red Cross: Shelter Population Swells After Miami Valley Tornadoes; Thousands Without Water, Power

In Dayton, tens of thousands of people remain without water and electricity. Dozens more are staying in emergency shelters. Red Cross officials say that number is likely to grow as storm recovery continues after Monday’s tornado outbreak in Indiana and Western Ohio that left one person dead and injured dozens more.

Some top Miami Valley lawmakers were in town Wednesday to survey damage from the storm. Republican Rep. Mike Turner toured damage in Beavercreek, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was in Dayton. Brown is promising to work with other elected officials to request federal disaster aid for affected areas.

The National Weather Service Wednesday confirmed 15 tornadoes struck Ohio Monday.

The strongest ones hit northern Montgomery County, Celina and Beavercreek. At least seven tornadoes touched down in the Dayton area that night.

Since then, more than 200 people have sought medical care for storm-related conditions at Miami Valley hospitals.

Health officials say many patients reported injuries typical of a disaster: broken bones, lacerations, orthopedic injuries.

Others were treated for issues, including chest pains, shortness of breath -- and dehydration.

A boil order remains in effect for parts of Montgomery County and residents are being asked to conserve water as emergency crews continue to work to stabilize the water system.

Marita Salkowski is with the Red Cross. She says in the wake of the tornadoes, more people are seeking assistance with food, water and shelter.

Tomiko Brown is staying at a temporary Red Cross shelter inside the Corinthian Baptist Church in Dayton.
Credit George Drake Jr. / WYSO
Tomiko Brown is staying at a temporary Red Cross shelter inside the Corinthian Baptist Church in Dayton.

“I've seen people in wheelchairs," she says. "I've seen people mothers with small children. There's a woman here with six children. I've seen people holding bundles of clothing that are their only remaining belongings. What these people have gone through, it breaks your heart.”

The Red Cross is operating five shelters across Montgomery County.

Many other organizations are also distributing free food, water and ice, including the Dayton Foodbank and the Wesley Community Center, and at various locations around the Miami Valley.

For residents in need of emergency assistance, or for information on how to help others in need click here: https://www.wyso.org/post/miami-valley-tornadoes-how-help-and-get-help

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.