Article

May 28th, 2013

Oklahomans Struggle With Aftermath of Devastating Tornado

 A man salvage stuffs from his grandmother's tornado devastated home on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma.

A man salvage stuffs from his grandmother’s tornado devastated home on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma.

Residents of Moore, Okla., a suburb of Oklahoma City, are cleaning up after Monday’s devastating tornado that killed 24 people, including seven children, and injured over 100 others.

The path of the tornado measured up to two miles wide and 20 miles long, and devastated neighborhoods and two elementary schools along the way.

In a statement Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama declared a federal disaster area, and pledged all resources necessary to help.

“There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms, and bedrooms, and classrooms, and, in time, we’re going to need to refill those spaces with love and laughter and community,” he said.

Watch Oklahomans Cope With Loss, Tally Costs of Rescue, Recovery on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

The tornado is estimated to have hit either a 4 or 5 on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale that measures tornado damage; the highest possible damage ratings. Its wind speed is estimated to have topped out at around 200mph.

Oklahoma National Guard soldiers, airmen, civilian firefighters and policemen search for survivors through the rubble of a building that was devastated by a tornado that killed dozens of people in Moore, Okla.

Oklahoma National Guard soldiers, airmen, civilian firefighters and policemen search for survivors through the rubble of a building that was devastated by a tornado that killed dozens of people in Moore, Okla.

Officials are now estimating that damage from the storms could cost insurance companies over $2 billion, with up to 13,000 homes either damaged or destroyed.

As many as 1,000 people had registered for services with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by Wednesday morning, although that’s far below the estimated 33,000 people affected by the storm.

“It’s just hard to imagine that one day, you walk out of your house, and the next few minutes, you come back and it looks like this,” said Sharon Camper, a tornado survivor.

In 2011, when a massive tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri, NewsHour Extra received Student Voices from teenagers who described that terrible day and what it took to rebuild the community.  Use these resources, as well as this lesson plan on how the body and brain react to disaster, to help students understand what it is like to live through such a life-altering event.


For more on this topic:

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Student Voice: “Joplin was able to rise from the ashes”Lesson Plan: Is the World’s Climate Changing?Student Voice: “I will never forget the things I heard that day”

The National Weather Service (NWS) in neighboring Norman, Okla., home to the University of Oklahoma, used Twitter to keep residents informed on the tornado.

 

 

 

 

– Compiled by Allison McCartney for NewsHour Extra

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