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|Public Affairs - Press Release|
Released November 11, 2002
Governor declares MUW a disaster area
COLUMBUS, Miss. - Gov. Ronnie Musgrove declared Mississippi University for Women a disaster area Monday afternoon, following a tornado that ripped through campus and parts of Columbus on Sunday nights.
"The damage is devastating," Musgrove said. "It is a level 3 tornado and the damage shows that. We are so fortunate that more people did not lose their lives. The MUW campus has been devastated greatly in comparison with past storms."
A bill has been crafted to present in the current special session to seek immediate assistance.
The tornado damaged several buildings, knocked down power lines, destroyed cars and shattered countless windows on campus.
Pohl Physical Education Assembly Building was destroyed, and there was extensive damage to the Fine Arts Building, Hogarth Dining Center, McDevitt Hall, the tennis courts and dorms at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.
MUW President Claudia Limbert said, "The main things that I want to express is that no one was killed. We were very fortunate that we didn't have any serious injuries to speak of. Buildings and trees, we can fix that."
University officials said classes were canceled for tomorrow and further notice would be given after structural engineers arrive on campus tomorrow. A 7 p.m. curfew was issues for students remaining on campus.
Limbert and Nora Miller, vice president for finance and administration, expressed their gratitude to all of the agencies and volunteers who have assisted with the cleanup and offered their services.
"There were about 75 strangers who showed up with chainsaws in the night. I don't know who those people were. I thank them," Limbert said.
Miller said that Columbus Air Force Base sent about 190 people along with equipment. "They've made so much headway in the cleanup."
The W's food service provider, Sodexho, has been "fantastic," she added.
In addition to local assistance, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Delta State have provided and offered their physical plants to assist with the cleanup.
Other businesses and agencies offering assistance were Coca-Cola Bottling out of Starkville that delivered cases of water and drinks to campus and the Salvation Army, which set up a soup kitchen behind the library.
"Now we just need to figure out what we need to do to get back in business," Miller said.
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