Shaking his head in shock and at times close to tears, Barack Obama wandered through the tornado-ravaged Oklahoma City suburb of Moore and said the devastation in its trail was “hard to comprehend”.
Promising to provide long-term federal help in rebuilding the suburb that killed 24 people - including seven children in an elementary school reduced to rubble - the President said: “Everywhere, fellow Americans are praying with you, they're thinking about you and they want to help. And I'm just a messenger here letting you know that you are not alone.”
The Moore tornado was the most powerful in a catalogue of 76 twisters that hit 10 states from 18 May to 20 May, causing £1.3bn worth of damage and injuring 377 people.
President Obama assured that the 1,200 homes destroyed would receive extended federal help. “I know everybody in Congress cares deeply about what's happening and know that resources will be forthcoming when it comes to rebuilding,” he said. “But remember that it's also the ongoing training and equipment, making sure those things are in place. We can't short change that kind of disaster response, we can't just wait until the disaster happens. That's how, in part, we're able to save a lot of lives.”
- More about: