Kasich mobilizes National Guard to storm areas
CINCINNATI — The governor on Monday mobilized the National Guard to tornado-ravaged areas of southern Ohio where nearly 300 homes, businesses and government buildings were damaged by the storms and winds.
Nearly half the structures in the Ohio River village of Moscow in Clermont County are among the nearly 100 in southwest Ohio that received major damage. Gov. John Kasich said Monday that the troops will help speed cleanup and recovery in Moscow and other damaged communities in the county.
The storms Friday night tore off roofs and crumbled walls in an area 30 to 40 miles east of Cincinnati. Three people were killed.
Kasich toured the area Saturday and dispatched crews from the Ohio Department of Transportation to help local officials with debris removal.
The initial assessment by Clermont County building inspectors found 47 structures in Moscow with major damage and 54 with minor damage after a tornado ripped through the village of more than 200 residents.
Inspectors found 287 damaged structures throughout Clermont County and said most need significant repairs. They say 257 will require permits and inspections to determine whether they can safely be occupied again.
The initial damage estimate found at least 32 structures in Tate Township and at least 11 in Franklin Township with major damage. At least eight structures in Washington Township were found to have heavy damage.
No estimate on the cost of the repairs was available Monday. Messages were left for county officials.
Carl Lamping, director of the county’s building department, has said officials will continue to evaluate the damage and inspect any completed repairs as requested by the public.
A spokesman for Kasich said Monday that the governor has spoken with federal authorities and informed them that additional assistance wasn’t necessary for the time being.
But the governor has not ruled out asking for assistance, and does want federal officials to look at what federal programs people in the area might be eligible for, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said.
The governor said Monday that federal inspectors had pledged to begin that effort within 24 hours.
Nichols said the decision not to ask for additional assistance was not made for political reasons, because the governor is a Republican and the president is a Democrat, but simply because the situation is under control.
“We were well-prepared, well-staffed and the governor let them know, ‘We’ll come back to you if we need you,’” Nichols said.
Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, a Democrat, said Monday that it was “unconscionable and disheartening that Governor Kasich would choose not to accept federal funds for relief.”
Sittenfeld issued the statement after Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney said the city had received a request, apparently on behalf of Clermont County, asking other communities to send equipment and people to assist with cleanup efforts.
Dohoney said that the city will be providing assistance, but that apparently the state’s decision not to seek a federal state-of-emergency declaration means that communities will not be reimbursed for the assistance.
Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus said in a statement that the tornado moved through an area just seven miles from his home and asked “all Ohioans to keep the communities of Moscow, Bethel and others impacted by this storm” in their prayers.
To help people affected by disasters like tornadoes and floods, you can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1–800-RED CROSS (1–800-733‑2767) or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.