News / USA

Rescuers Dig for Survivors After Deadly US Tornado

Storm clouds build in the distance beyond tornado-ravaged homes in Moore, Oklahoma, May 21, 2013.
Storm clouds build in the distance beyond tornado-ravaged homes in Moore, Oklahoma, May 21, 2013.
Alex Villarreal
U.S. search and rescue crews are digging for survivors in the area where a massive tornado leveled neighborhoods Monday in the central state of Oklahoma, killing at least 24 people and injuring nearly 240 others.  The twister is the nation's deadliest since a 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, killed more than 150 people.

Monday's tornado tore through the town of Moore, a suburb of the state capital, Oklahoma City, leaving a path of destruction up to three kilometers wide and 32 kilometers long.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin called it one of the "most horrific" disasters the state has ever faced.

"In many places, homes were absolutely destroyed, taken away. There's just sticks and bricks basically," said Fallin. "It's hard to tell if there was a structure there or not. If you get into some of the major neighborhoods, you can't tell where the streets were. The street signs are gone. And that's been a big challenge for us, [...] being able to determine which area of a community we might be in, because the streets are just gone, the signs are just gone."

The storm system that generated an F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is pictured in this May 20, 2013 NASA photo.The storm system that generated an F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is pictured in this May 20, 2013 NASA photo.
x
The storm system that generated an F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is pictured in this May 20, 2013 NASA photo.
The storm system that generated an F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is pictured in this May 20, 2013 NASA photo.
The tornado ripped through the area around Oklahoma City with winds of up to 320 kilometers an hour. Among the flattened buildings was an elementary school, where children lost their lives.

U.S. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in Oklahoma following the storm, ordering the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to provide assistance.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said the agency's job is to support local officials and first responders who have been working since the tornado struck. He said people outside of Oklahoma can help, too, by donating to volunteer organizations such as the Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

"If you're not in the area, the best way to help is to send your help through those organizations. And, that's the lesson we've learned time and time again, that stuff isn't as great as cash when it comes to the longer term needs for a lot of folks that have lost everything," said Fugate.

Tornado, Oklahoma City, OklahomaTornado, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
x
Tornado, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tornado, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


For now, the focus is on rescue and recovery - sifting through the debris and searching for survivors. The Moore fire department chief, Gary Bird, said crews will go through every damaged piece of property in the town at least three times before the process is finished.

Tragically, this is not the first time Moore has confronted grave losses from a tornado. Another deadly twister hit the town in 1999 - one of more than 70 tornadoes to touch down across Oklahoma and Kansas in just 21 hours. Both states are located in an area of the United States commonly known as "Tornado Alley," where most of the nation's tornadoes occur.

  • A man stands among the wreckage in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013
  • Storm chaser Brad Mack records the tornado in Oklahoma.
  • The storm system that generated an F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma is pictured in this May 20, 2013 NASA photo.
  • John Warner surveys the damage near a friend's mobile home in the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park, destroyed in a tornado, near Shawnee, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • A fire burns in the Tower Plaza Addition following a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • Moore police dig through the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • This photo provided by KFOR-TV shows homes flattened outside Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • A tornado moves past homes in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • A woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013.
  • Seven-year-old Katrina Ash holds a doll as she waits in the back of a truck with her grandfather, Michael Bowen, after a tornado ripped through their neighborhood near Dale, Oklahoma, May 19, 2013.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 21, 2013 10:05 AM
Haba USA, what's all the disaster! Was it like this all along, or has something changed to single USA out for these disasters? Looks like these troubles are picking crescendo with the time ticking away.. I sympathize with parents losing their loved ones in such circumstances. But question is, has this anything to do with global warming? Why is USA just the one receiving the crunchy part? Has USA lost touch with something such that its good luck omen has left it? Does the country need to look at itself and reappraise its stand on certain issues, maybe its lucky number will fall back in place? God Bless America.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid