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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs