Woodward, OK Tornado, Apr 1947
Woodward had neither power or running water, and hospital units and morgues, including one set up in the First Christian Church, were hard put to find water to bathe the injured and wash the bodies of the dead. Oklahoma's State Health Commissioner supervised efforts to prevent a possible outbreak of disease. The local mortuary sent out an emergency order for 150 caskets.
Half of Town Homeless
The Red Cross, omnipresent in disaster, took charge of relief work and made a preliminary appropriation of $250,000, in addition to sending tents, cots, mattresses, medicine and food supplies.
Woodward, a city of 7,000 in the midst of a prosperous wheat belt, was a distressing sight. It's death toll rose toward the 100 mark, its injured were counted at more than 1,000 and fully half of its survivors were homeless. The winds had directed their fury at its residential district while not sparing business areas. At least 350 homes and buildings - a quarter of the town - were ruined.
Mayor R. A. Bosch turned over the city to Oklahoma highway patrolmen after "strangers" began pawing through the shattered homes and wrecked store fronts for anything possible.
Bosch, while directing relief efforts, began plans for the mass funeral services for the dead.
Others turned their attention to the living. The Woodward hospital and emergency hospitals gave treatment to the injured, who then were moved out to the airplane and trains to hospitals as far away as Oklahoma City, Amarillo and Wichita, Kan.
Church Serves as Infirmary.
Dazed residents moved through the buildings, searching for missing members of their families. Injured children sobbed for parents.
Many of the injured, screaming and hysterical, kept repeating questions about the welfare of relatives. They though not of themselves as doctors and nurses moved quickly from cot to cot.
Out in the ripped residential section, grieving relatives dug into the piles of wreckage which had been homes a few hours before.