News / USA

Obama Visits Tornado-Hit Oklahoma Town, Promises Aid

President Barack Obama views the devastation at Plaza Towers Elementary School caused by tornado and severe weather last week with school officials, May 26, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma.
President Barack Obama views the devastation at Plaza Towers Elementary School caused by tornado and severe weather last week with school officials, May 26, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama has toured a tornado-ravaged town in the south-central state of Oklahoma, offering comfort and long-term federal aid for survivors of last week's storm that killed 24 people.

Speaking beside the ruins of an elementary school in the town of Moore on Sunday, Obama said it is "hard to comprehend" the damage from the unusual EF-5 tornado, the strongest category on the U.S. tornado scale. Ten of those killed were children, including seven students who were in that school when the storm hit.

The tornado also injured 377 people and destroyed 1,200 homes, a second elementary school and a hospital. The damage is estimated to be around $2 billion.

Path of tornado, click to enlargePath of tornado, click to enlarge
x
Path of tornado, click to enlarge
Path of tornado, click to enlarge
Flanked by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and other officials, Obama urged people to donate to the American Red Cross to help the town recover. He also promised that residents who suffered significant damage will receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He also met with tornado survivors and visited a fire station that served as a command center for emergency workers, whom he praised for saving many lives.

Obama has visited several scenes of tragedy in the United States in the past year, offering support to Boston after last month's bomb attack on the city's annual marathon, to a Connecticut town hit by a shooting rampage in December, and to New Jersey coastal residents affected by Superstorm Sandy last October.

In his Sunday remarks, the president urged Congress to maintain funding for programs that provide training and equipment to emergency services, saying those resources help to save lives and cannot be "shortchanged."

  • President Barack Obama talks with Julie Lewis, her husband Scott Lewis, and their son Zack, a third-grader at the destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School seen in the background, Moore, Oklahoma, May 26, 2013.
  • Rae Kittrell holds her son Rylan, who turned one-year-old two days after the tornado, a block away from her house in Moore, Oklahoma, May 22, 2013.
  • Chad Allcox, left, helps his friend Kevin McElvany, right, the home owner, clear debris away from his destroyed home from Monday's tornado, Moore, Oklahoma, May 22, 2013.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball player Kevin Durant walks past tornado-damaged homes in a neighborhood in Moore, Oklahoma, May 22, 2013.
  • Jordan Humphrey, a 6th grader at tornado-damaged Briarwood elementary school, shows his mother Mary and his brother Jacob his soggy yearbook after his backpack was retrieved for him by a firefighter in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 22, 2013.
  • A sign reads "God Bless Moore" as workers make repairs to the Warren theater in Moore, Oklahoma, which was left devastated by a tornado, May 22, 2013.
  • A soggy American flag hangs in a broken window at Wayne Osmus' home in Moore, Oklahoma. Osmus' family hid in a closet Monday after winds kept them from taking refuge in the storm shelter.
  • Charles Taber opens the two-week old storm shelter that saved his life in the May 20 tornado in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 22, 2013.
  • Farmers Insurance worker, Paul Gaipo, looks through tornado-damaged cars at a destroyed strip mall, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma.
  • A search-and-rescue team from Tennessee searches a field, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma.
  • Susan Kates salvages items from a friend's tornado-ravaged home, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma.
  • Claudia Clark clears tornado debris from a cemetery, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dennis Sauve from: Windsor, Ontario
May 30, 2013 10:43 PM
Windsor Lifeline Outreach in Windsor Ontario responds to Oklahoma Tornado relief loading a 53 ft semi with 40,000 lbs of food and supplies headed of The Gate Church in Oklahoma City. U.S. Border has denied us entry because there has not been Presidential alert for humanitarian Relief. This has basically ceased our ability to ship this load. We need prayers and any help we can get.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs