Panola County opens Emergency Operations Center for tornado response/relief

Panola County opens Emergency Operations Center for tornado response/relief

PANOLA COUNTY, Texas - Panola County Judge Lee Ann Jones has established an Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate the efforts for response and relief for victims of the March 27th tornadoes.

“It’ll be very beneficial to the victims,” Jones said. “Some of them lost everything.”

The EOC will be based at the Panola County Exposition Center and operated by East Texas-based Hand Up Network.

“We coordinator all the people who are coming in to try to help to make sure that the people who actually need help are getting the help they need,” Hand Up Network CEO Sam Smith said.

An Emergency Contact Line has been established at 903-263-3653, or you can e-mail HelpPanola@gmail.com. Residents are encouraged to contact these channels before engaging any help or service provider.

Residents that need help with trees, storm damage, etc. should reach out via the contact above. Assessment teams will be sent to determine what can be done to help by volunteer organizations and teams.

Volunteers, Volunteer Organizations, etc. are asked to go to the Panola County Exposition Center for direction. All volunteer activities, organizations, etc. throughout the County are being managed at this location by Hand Up Network in coordination with the Panola County Emergency Manager. If anyone approaches you to help and you have concerns, please contact this location immediately!

Smith said they also try to prevent people being taken advantage of.

“There are some nefarious characters out there that will come out and try to convince you to pay a lot of money to take down some tree, and we try to keep that from happening,” Smith said.

“Pray for our county,” Jones said. “Pray for the victims.”

Those wishing to donate supplies are asked to contact the EOC to determine current needs and to optimize your generosity.

East Texas Residents interested in donating supplies may also do so at Hand Up Network at 200 N. Beckham, Tyler, TX 75702, 903-597-5334, or info@HandUpNetwork.com.