City Manager: 'We've Been Through This Before'

Monday, 20 May 2013 11:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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"We've been through this before, unfortunately," said Moore, Okla, City Manager Steve Eddy after a devastating two-mile-wide followed virtually the same route as a deadly twister did in 1999.

At least 51 people are confirmed dead from the tornado that has been called at least an EF-4 by the National Weather Service.

"Our citizens are resilient," Eddy said at a press conference Monday evening as search and rescue efforts continued. He said the city will begin to rebuild. Though it is not a job they would have wanted, they now have been given it and will get to work, he said.

"It's hard to believe that something like this could happen again, to Moore itself," Gov. Mary Fallin said. The 1999 tornado had a record 318 mph winds.

"Our hearts are with the parents who are worried about their children," Fallin said, noting that at least five schools were damaged by the tornado. Two elementary schools were destroyed. Seven of the fatalities were from students at Plaza Towers Elementary school. Searchers believe up to two dozen students died there, but not all of their bodies had been recovered.

Fallin thanked all the agencies who were working to rescue people and help the survivors who are "trying make sure we have looked under every single piece of debris and every single building and along the roads and communities to find anyone that might be injured or might be lost."

Other governors have offered help, and President Barack Obama sent condolences, she said.

A federal emergency declaration was signed on Sunday for 16 Oklahoma counties after tornadoes hit the area. Five more counties will be added, she said.

Rescuers said they don't currently need more help, and urged those who would want to help to stay away. It is difficult to get into the area because roads, including an interstate, are littered with debris. Power is out and cell towers are blown down, making communication difficult.

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