Moore mayor pushes for shelter law in wake of Oklahoma tornado

Glenn Lewis wants safe rooms provided in every new-built home

Steve Anderson,Agencies
Thursday 23 May 2013 14:20
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Moore mayor Glenn Lewis
Moore mayor Glenn Lewis

The mayor of Moore, the Oklahoma suburb devastated by a massive tornado earlier this week, has called for a new law to have shelters installed in every new-built home to protect the town's residents.

Glenn Lewis said he would propose a shelter ordinance - that would require a storm shelter or safe room in all single and multi-family homes - in the next few days and he was confident that it would pass through the city council.

Mr Lewis told CNN: "We'll try to get it passed as soon as I can."

Each safe room or shelter could cost several thousand dollars.

Volunteers in the town where between 12,000 and 13,000 homes were destroyed on Monday, are now engaged in a recovery mission, delivering supplies and helping people find accommodation, though officials are still searching for six adults who have not been accounted for.

However, Mr Lewis said that he did not expect the death toll of 24 to rise.

Though more than 100 schools in Oklahoma had been fitted out with state-funded shelters, Plaza Towers Elementary - where seven children were killed - and Briarwood Elementary did not have them. Pupils and teachers were forced to cower in bathrooms as the tornado ripped the roof off Plaza Towers.

Of the 24 people killed, 10 were children. About 240 others were injured, emergency management officials said. The youngest victim was four months old, the oldest was 63.

Listed as the highest category of storm - an EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale - the twister damaged or obliterated 12,000 to 13,000 homes and affected an estimated 33,000 people, said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.

President Barack Obama was due to survey the damage on Sunday, a White House spokesman said.

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