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12,000 homes damaged or destroyed in Moore, daunting road to recovery underway

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 23rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Devastated by a tornado, the city of Moore, Oklahoma has begun to dig out and count its blessings. The tornado on Monday claimed 24 lives, 10 of those children and 12,000 homes were totally destroyed or damaged. Insurance claims from the area are likely to exceed $2 billion, said Kelly Collins, a representative of the Oklahoma Insurance Department. And yet - a page torn from a children's book found in the wreckage has sent an ironic - yet hopeful message to the survivors.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The torn-out page from the book seemed to be an astute reflection of what had happened in Moore.

"I remember my old house, its rooms so bright and wide. Its halls will echo for all time, with the laughter heard inside."

As discovered by a fellow rescue relief volunteer, Jared Bowie, said the page was especially poignant. "Then I thought about how many houses were full of laughter and memories." Bowie added that the page doesn't just allude to the joy now lost after the storm.

"It reminds me of the laughter and memories yet to come in the new houses that will be built," he said. "The memories are truly found in the heart, not the house."

With everyone now accounted for, the people of Moore has dried their eyes and has set their sights on rebuilding their lives. 
 
Seven of the ten children killed were inside the Plaza Towers Elementary School. The twister crushed the school. The mother of eight-year-old Kyle Davis, one of the victims says that she is "angry to an extent. I know the schools did what they thought they could do but with us living in Oklahoma, tornado shelters should be in every school," she says.

"There should be a place that if this ever happened again during school that kids can get to a safe place," Davis said. "That we don't have to sit there and go through rubble ... and may not ever find what we're looking for."

Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis says that he will push for a law requiring storm shelters or safe rooms in new homes. "What we will do is get the stakeholders here in the city ... and we'll discuss what we think we need to have," Lewis said. "Anybody that lives in any tornado area should have (a storm shelter), but it's just the matter of cost."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in "good shape" to support the recovery in Oklahoma and other disaster zones, such as New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy,

"We got full allocation last year with the Sandy supplemental funds," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says. "We are looking to continue the response here as well as the previous disasters." But "if we have another hurricane, we may need more money."


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