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December 3, 2021

Major disaster declared in Oklahoma after tornado

20 children are among the victims.

A powerful tornado has torn through a suburb of Oklahoma city in the US, leaving at least 91 people dead – including 20 children, Euronews reports. The three kilometre wide twister, with winds of up to 320 kilometres per hour, flattened large swathes of Moore – destroying everything in its path.  Search and rescue operations are continuing in the worst affected areas.
Even for a city toughened by massive tornadoes, Moore has never seen this kind of devastation, CNN reports.
Despite the woeful news, rescue workers clung to the hope of finding more survivors and scoured mountains of rubble where houses and schools once stood. At least 20 of those killed were children, including seven from Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore – the site of a frantic search Tuesday morning. The school was in the direct path of the storm’s fury. About 75 students and staff members were hunkered down in Plaza Towers when the tornado struck. At one point, an estimated 24 children were missing from the school, but some later turned up at nearby churches. It’s unclear how many may still be trapped in the wreckage, and how many are dead or alive. A father of a third-grader still missing sat quietly on a stool outside.

Tears cascaded from his face as he waited for any news.
Across town, Moore Medical Center also succumbed to the tornado. “Our hospital has been devastated,” Mayor Glenn Lewis said. “We had a two-story hospital, now we have a one. And it’s not occupiable.” So 145 of the injured were rushed to three other area hospitals. That number includes 45 children taken to the children’s hospital at Oklahoma University Medical Center, Dr. Roxie Albrecht said. Injuries ranged from minor to severe, including impalement and crushing injuries.
The two-mile-wide twister stayed on the ground for a full 40 minutes, carving a 22-mile path where thousands of residents live. The tornado first touched down in Newcastle, Oklahoma, before ripping into neighboring Moore. An early estimate rated the tornado as an EF4, meaning it had winds between 166 and 200 mph, according to the National Weather Service. After the ear-shattering howl subsided, survivors along the miles of destruction emerged from shelters to see an apocalyptic vision. Homes and other buildings were shredded to pieces. Remnants of mangled cars were piled on top of each other. The death toll has far surpassed anything the city has seen from a tornado – and is expected to climb.

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