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AMERIND assesses tornado damage in Indian country


SHAWNEE, Okla. – AMERIND’s preliminary damage assessments have indicated most of the Tribal Housing Authorities located in Oklahoma have escaped the tornado activity in early May. Two homes, managed under the Absentee Shawnee Tribal Housing Authority however, were a total loss.

Tecumseh, just southwest of Shawnee is where these homes were demolished by a direct hit by one of the many destructive tornadoes. Absentee Shawnee Tribal Housing manages more than 467 homes and 125 duplexes in central Oklahoma.

This home on Kathy Drive in Tecumseh, Okla. was destroyed by a tornado.

“I was here in Shawnee [when the tornados struck] and the sirens started going off. It wasn’t too bad where I live but towards Tecumseh is where it got hit pretty hard,” said Jackie Ryburn, field services administrative assistant, Absentee Shawnee Tribal Housing Authority. “It’s been terrible watching the news and seeing these people who lost everything.”

Ryburn thinks people are still in a state of shock since no one expected the tornadoes to come this close. It’s been since May 3, 1999 since she remembered a tornado coming this close to the lands of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.

In 1999, central Oklahoma was hit by an F5 tornado which packed over 300 MPH winds. More than 60 tornados caused over $1.1 billion in damage that year throughout Oklahoma.

“AMERIND’s mission in this tragedy is to far exceed our member’s expectations of our service and response time,” said Alan Romero, claims response director. “We are pulling as many resources necessary to provide our members and customers in Oklahoma claim service second to none during this event.”