HENRYVILLE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- The death toll has reached to 38 across five states after last week's devastating tornadoes swept through the Midwest.
Thirty-seven million people were in harms way during the twisters on Friday. Twelve Hoosiers are dead and dozens more are injured after a couple tornadoes ravaged Southern Indiana.
Dave Wheaton, News Director at WOWO News Talk 1190 AM, traveled to Henryville Saturday morning to see the destruction for himself. He said he had to take detours because debris blocked major roadways into some of the used-to-be towns.
In Henryville, only two buildings are left standing. Wheaton said he was speechless to see fellow Hoosier's entire livelihoods wiped away.
The storms destroyed homes and businesses in seven Indiana counties: Clark, Jefferson, Posey, Ripley, Warrick, Washington and Wayne. Spencer County is also reporting minor damage. The hardest hit counties are Jefferson, Scott, Ripley and Washington Counties.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels surveyed the damage Saturday morning in Henryville, Marysville and New Pekin. Governor Daniels got choked up when a reporter asked him what he would say to the families who are homeless after the storms.
"Well... we love you," said Governor Daniels outside a Henryville school that was completely leveled. "And we're with you. And... if it isn't already obvious... It's not just government, it's their neighbors here to help. I would just say to those families that we're going to do everything we can to get you back on your feet, to get you back in business and in your homes."
Senators Coats and Lugar are scheduled to visit Henryville Sunday morning.
The Indiana National Guard, State of Indiana, and Marion County have deployed teams to respond to the event. Federal officials are en route to the State EOC.
On Saturday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano called Governor Mitch Daniels to offer the condolences and support of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and with the communities affected by the recent storms,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The Department’s priority is to work with the impacted states to identify and address their needs, and we will continue to remain in close contact with the states as they respond to and recover from these storms.”
President Obama also called Governor Daniels on Saturday. The President acknowledged that the extent of damage may not be known for days, and told Daniels that FEMA stood ready to provide assistance, if necessary, to the extensive response efforts already underway in Indiana.
Everyone from the National Guard, to the Indiana State Police, to local churches, to the Amrican Red Cross to companies like Verizon are pulling together donations and supplies. Verizon Wireless is offering residents affected by the tornadoes in Southern Indiana access to several locations where they can make free calls, charge their cell phones and use the Internet.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The Northeast Indiana Red Cross Chapter is currently on standby to send a team to Southern Indiana for relief efforts. Tracy Duncan, American Red Cross Communications Manager, is encouraging people who want to help the victims of Friday's storms to make a financial donation.
Hoosiers can help those affected by the Midwest tornadoes and storms by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can make a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
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