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
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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs