Oklahoma tornado toll revised to 24, rescue efforts on

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 20:57

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Frantic rescue and search operations are underway for the deadly tornado that swept through Oklahoma City in US on Tuesday

Meanwhile the medical examiner’s office in Oklahoma City revised the death toll to at least 24, reported the BBC.
Earlier reports had said that at least 91 were feared dead, including 20 children.

The monstrous tornado with winds of upto 320km/h speed levelled entire neighbourhoods.

The worse hit was the town of Moore, a community of 41,000 people 10 miles south of the city, where the stormy winds flattened homes and destroyed two elementary schools, turning the area into a war-zone.

More than 120 people were being treated at hospitals, including about 50 children. Amy Elliott, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner`s Office, said Tuesday that there could be as many as 40 more fatalities from Monday`s tornado.

On Monday evening, families anxiously waited at churches to hear if their loved ones were OK. A man with a megaphone stood near St. Andrews United Methodist Church and called out the names of surviving children. Children and parents hugged as they reunited. Other parents waited, hoping to hear their sons` and daughters` names as the night dragged on.

Crews continued their desperate search and rescue effort throughout the night at Plaza Towers Elementary, where the storm had ripped off the school`s roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal as students and teachers huddled in hallways and bathrooms.

Children from the school were among the dead, but several students were pulled out alive from under a collapsed wall and other heaps of mangled debris. Rescue workers passed the survivors down a human chain of parents and neighborhood volunteers. Parents carried children in their arms to a triage center in the parking lot. Some students looked dazed, others terrified.

"Our hearts are broken for parents who are wondering about the state of their children," said Governor Mary Fallin said.

US President Barack Obama has declared a State of Emergency in Oklahoma and had dispatched federal aid.

He spoke with Oklahoma Governor to express his concern for those who have been affected by the severe weather.
With Agency Inputs



First Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 08:27

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