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May 23, 2013

Moore Assesses Damage After Monday’s Tornado

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

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Since a devastating tornado hit the town of Moore, Oklahoma killing 24 people and damaging up to 13,000 homes, residents have shifted their efforts from rescue to recovery.

The first official damage assessments estimate that the storm may cost insurance companies more than $2 billion.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also pledged support in the area, and by Wednesday morning had registered more than 1,000 storm victims for services.

Despite the loss of homes and belongings, many residents are grateful to have survived with their families intact.

“I’m just grateful that we weren’t here. You know, my wife’s with me, so that’s all I could ask for,” said tornado survivor Michael Ramirez.

Now attention is turning to emergency preparation and building safety. As the town tries to rebuild, it is focusing on safe rooms in homes, including concrete blocks in the floor with a sliding door.

“This is the anomaly that flattens everything to the ground. So it’s a bit remiss to say that — that tornado precautions were not taken or facilities were not strong enough,” said Albert Ashwood of Oklahoma Emergency Management. “Can they always be stronger? Absolutely. But I think everything was done that could be done at the time.”

President Obama will visit Moore this Sunday to survey the damage and meet with victims.


“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,” Sharon Camper, tornado survivor.

“After the first day, kind of after the deer in the headlights, you begin to see the reality of the situation settle in. And as they struggle through that, they are beginning to realize this is the long haul. It’s not a sprint anymore. It’s a marathon,” Pastor Ben Glover, Oakcrest Church of Christ.

Warm up questions

1. What is a tornado? How does one form?

2. What parts of the country are most affected by tornados?

3. What types of natural events are a threat where you live?

Discussion questions

1. What do you think could be done to save lives in a disaster like the Moore tornado?

2. Whose responsibility to do you think it should be to clean up after a disaster like this? The residents’, state or local government, insurance companies, or some combination? Why?

3. Do you and your family have a plan in case of a weather emergency? If so, what is it?

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