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Iraq war hampers U.S. tornado recovery

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070507/us_nm/tornado_kansas_dc Iraq war hampers U.S. tornado recovery By Carey Gillam 2 hours, 54 minutes ago OVERLAND PARK,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2007
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070507/us_nm/tornado_kansas_dc

      Iraq war hampers U.S. tornado recovery

      By Carey Gillam 2 hours, 54 minutes ago

      OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - A shortage of
      trucks, helicopters and other equipment -- all sent to
      the war in Iraq -- has hampered recovery in a U.S.
      town obliterated by a tornado, Kansas Gov. Kathleen
      Sebelius said on Monday.

      "There is no doubt at all that this will slow down and
      hamper the recovery," Sebelius, a Democrat, told
      Reuters in Kansas where officials said the statewide
      death toll had risen to 12 on Monday.

      "Not having this equipment in place all over the state
      is a huge handicap," Sebelius said.

      The tornado that devastated Greensburg, 110 miles west
      of Wichita, started a weekend of violent weather in
      Kansas, a state in the heart of the central United
      States region known as "Tornado Alley."

      Ten died in Greensburg, a town of 1,600 people. An
      11th died in nearby Pratt County and a 12th in a
      separate tornado in Ottawa County.

      The twisters were accompanied by widespread flooding
      on Sunday and Monday that required more than 200 water
      rescues and closed many roads and shuttered several
      schools in another part of the state.

      "We're getting pounded in Kansas. We have the need for
      National Guard in two different parts of our state
      now. This is really going to be a problem," Sebelius
      said.

      Sebelius and other Democratic governors earlier this
      year assailed the Republican Bush administration for
      the strains they said the war had placed on their
      states' National Guardsmen, frequently mobilized for
      state emergencies.

      OTHER STATES

      A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said other states
      were supposed to help provide resources in an
      emergency. White House spokesman Tony Snow said the
      administration was doing what it could and equipment
      would arrive if it was needed.

      Kansas Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson
      said because of the shortage of National Guard
      equipment, the state was rushing to hire contractors
      to help clear debris.

      Nearly 70 Kansas National Guard troops were arriving
      in Greensburg on Monday to supplement about 40 troops
      already on the ground, and some guard Humvees were
      available to start clearing wreckage, Watson said.

      Sebelius said the failure by Washington to replace or
      return state National Guard equipment deployed to Iraq
      was "not a very satisfying effort."

      The governor said Kansas lacks about half the large
      equipment it could use for recovery efforts and debris
      removal, including dump trucks and front loaders. More
      than 20 percent of its Humvees and 15 of 19
      helicopters were sent to Iraq, said officials with the
      Kansas National Guard.

      The National Weather Service said the twister that hit
      Greensburg Friday about 9:45 p.m. was an F5, the
      highest on the scale. With winds of 205 mph (330 kph),
      it stayed on the ground about an hour, traveling 22
      miles and wreaking a path of destruction nearly two
      miles wide.

      "It's been one of the most destructive tornadoes in
      the last 10 years," said National Weather Service
      meteorologist Matt Gerard.
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