MOORE, Okla. – Heartbreak, devastation and the city picking up the pieces after a deadly tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday.
Now, one day later as families mourn, the clean-up and recovery effort continues throughout the area.
The medical examiner’s office has confirmed 24 people have been killed in Monday’s Moore tornado; at least 230 have been injured.
Amy Ellis with the medical examiner’s office said of the 24, nine are children.
Ellis said in a press conference Tuesday seven of those children were found in the Plaza Towers Elementary School and two more were found elsewhere.
She said that number may continue to rise.
Monday, the death toll was reported at 51 and then at 91.
Officials said those numbers may have been inflated because of double reporting the fatalities.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said the state has established a website where people can get information on services available to people affected by the storm: http://www.ok.gov/okstrong/.
Fallin said those impacted can also call 1-800-621-FEMA for further assistance.
She also said state lawmakers are working on a measure that would allow the state to tap its “rainy day savings account” to create an emergency fund.
That fund would be used to, among other things, help local governments fund their services. One example, she said, would be helping communities pay for overtime for emergency responders.
Fallin also said 33,000 residents remain without power; another problem is with communications.
Terri Watkins, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman who described Tuesday’s search as “board by board,” said it was far too soon to account for the devastation of the storm.
The tornado that slammed the Oklahoma City area tore through a 17-mile path, the National Weather Service said. The agency said survey crews indicated that the twister began 4.4 miles west of the city of Newcastle and ended 4.8 miles east of the city of Moore.
Fire officials say they have made it through most of the structures. They plan to make it through every damaged piece of property 3 times.
During a news conference Tuesday morning President Obama said, “Oklahoma needs to get everything it needs right away to recover from the powerful tornado.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Oklahoma to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and tornadoes beginning May 18, 2013, and continuing.
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