Death toll is rising after giant tornado hits Oklahoma

Moore, Oklahoma – A 3.2 km wide tornado struck on Monday afternoon. Killing 51 people of which 20 were reported to be children. 40 additional bodies will be brought in at the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office but needs to be processed first. Homes and buildings are left in piles of rubble. Cars were found on top of another and on buildings.

From the 20 dead include seven children at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, said Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Kevin Parton. There are still children trapped under the Plaza Towers elementary school and parents fear for the worse.

30 Patients at the time in Moore Medical was evacuated to Norman Regional Hospital and Health Plex Hospital after it was significantly damages, with the second floor largely gone, said Kelly Wells, Spokeswoman for Norman Regional Medical Centre.

At least 145 people have been hospitalized in the Oklahoma City area hospital officials said and the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center received 45 children for treatment on Monday, according Dr. Roxie Albrecht.

Will Rogers World Airport reopened around at about 6 p.m. ET, spokeswoman Karen Carney said. All flights are delayed, and at least six flights have been canceled, she said.

“People are trapped. You are going to see the devastation for days to come,” Betsy Randolph, spokeswoman for Oklahoma Highway Patrol, told CNN late Monday afternoon. She did not say how many people were trapped. “Send your prayers heavenward because there are people fighting for their lives.”

Country music star and Moore native Toby Keith said in a written statement: “This storm has devastated the community that I grew up in. I rode my bike through those neighborhoods. I have family and friends in Moore. My heart and prayers go to those that have lost so much. But Moore is strong and we will persevere. God be with you all.”

President Barack Obama told Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin the federal government “stands ready to provide all available assistance”. A White House statement said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed a team to assist state operations, and additional personnel are ready to be dispatched as necessary. Obama told Fallin that “the people of Oklahoma” are in the first families “thoughts and prayers,” the statement said.

Written By: Stefane Visagie

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