Published Sat, Jun 30, 2012 4:19 pm Dateline
Updated Sat, Jun 30, 2012 9:36 pm
Update 9:35 p.m. The feds have approved Ohio Gov. John Kasich's request for emergency assistance.
Kathleen Nelson with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency says that gives the state the ability "to obtain and use generators and water from the federal government."
A Federal Emergency Management Agency liaison arrived in Ohio today to coordinate the federal assistance. More people from FEMA are expected tomorrow.
Nelson says there is no dollar amount attached to the aid; the approval of the governor's request simply allows the state to acccess federal resources. At this point, it's unclear how many generators and how much water are coming to Ohio, where they're coming from, and when they'll be here. Nelson says much of that planning will take place tomorrow morning.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich says Ohio University, the city of Athens, and Athens County have done a good job reacting to last night's storms.
"It was a perfect example of the university working with the city working with the county," he said in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.
Kasich said he spoke to OU President Roderick McDavis so that the state could take lessons from the response in Athens.
Kasich also said he's called President Barack Obama and the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting a federal emergency disaster declaration.
He said what the state needs most from the federal government is “ice, water, fuel and generators."
Members of the National Guard have been called in, and 200 of them will be concentrated in "more urban areas in central Ohio and Cincinnati." Kasich said that's where the most vulnerable populations are, but as needs change, they may be shifted to more rural areas.
“Our concern is the terrific heat and the fact that we have some very vulnerable Ohioans who are at risk because of this heat," he said.
He repeatedly expressed concerns over the welfare of seniors without air conditioning and said folks should pull together during these trying times.
“I think Ohioans clearly shine when we have these challenges, and it's another opportunity for us to be good neighbors."
Ohio University has opened Baker Center "as a cooling and comfort facility" until 10 p.m. It will also be open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Athens Community Center is open during the same hours. People can also go to the city pool, which is open during its normal hours, for free.