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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs