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Second tornado hits OK City

A new tornado hit Oklahoma City Friday evening -- one day after a first tornado destroyed 300 homes.

BY DISASTER NEWS NETWORK | OKLAHOMA CITY | May 10, 2003

A new tornado hit Oklahoma City Friday evening -- one day after a first tornado destroyed 300 homes.

Friday's twister, which injured several people, moved from southwest of the city through the northeast section, directly across the metro area.

The suburbs of Bethany and Warr Acres were hardest hit by this new twister, which hopped on the ground on and off for 75 miles, according to local emergency management reports.

President Bush declared Oklahoma City a disaster area Saturday.

"We'll get this money going and we'll get to working for you," said Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown at a press conference.

Two more tornadoes touched down in the western counties of Missouri Friday night, too. Storms also caused more damage in Kansas City.

Meanwhile Churches in Oklahoma City have been aiding tornado survivors since Friday morning after violent tornadoes damaged at least 300 homes and injured more than 100 people.

Hardest hit was the suburb of Moore, where the First Baptist Church was being used as a command center by the American Red Cross and other disaster response groups.

The Baptist General Conference of Oklahoma set up a mobile meal station, where 15 volunteers served some 1,425 people Friday morning. They expected to serve 6,000 people meals by the end of the day.

The Baptist General Conference of Oklahoma also deployed a specially trained volunteer crew with chainsaws to clear debris.

The conference also established a relief fund that will provide a $500 check to disaster survivors in emergency situations. Many people lost everything, including credit cards and checkbooks, and don't have immediate access to cash.

The United Methodist Church in Moore was anticipating serving as an emergency operations center, and was working with Moore city officials Friday morning.

The United Methodist Conference of Oklahoma was meeting with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Friday morning to organize a response.

Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) was in contact with local clergy to plan how to meet people's needs. LDR was also communicating with the public about how best to help through prayers, volunteer work and cash contributions to responding groups.

Week of Compassion, a giving program coordinated through the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) reported the tornado destroyed the First Christian Church's sanctuary in Moore. Other parts of the church's facilities were damaged as well. Week of Compassion sent a grant to that congregation to aid in rebuilding.

Many disaster response leaders were urging people to refrain from sending material donations such as used clothing to the communities affected by disasters. Instead, cash contributions are more likely to meet survivors' needs, they said.

More than 6,000 people were still without power in the Oklahoma City area Friday morning.

A General Motors assembly plant was so damaged it was taken out of service.

Thursday's tornado followed a similar path to one that ripped through Oklahoma City on May 3, 1999, killing 44 people.

Police officers patrolled damaged areas in Moore through Thursday night to prevent looting. The National Guard was called to assist with debris removal and security.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported it had started assessing damages Friday. The state has requested that Oklahoma and Cleveland counties be declared federal disaster areas.

Boyce Bowden contributed to this story.


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