The Norman Transcript

News Features

June 6, 2013

Shelters give tornado victims a sense of peace and normalcy

MOORE — For folks whose lives have been disrupted by chaos, a little bit of normalcy can go a long way.

Since May 19, thousands of Oklahomans have been displaced by tornadoes and, more recently, flash flooding. Numerous organizations and agencies have been assisting victims with needs including locating loved ones, government aid, medical care and daily living needs.

As of Wednesday, the Red Cross had four shelters open, including the Moore Community Center, 301 S. Howard.

At 7:50 p.m. Friday, when the Oklahoma City area was besieged by tornadoes and flash flooding, a tornado formed near NW Fifth St. in Moore and tracked p.5 miles to West Main Street, according to the National Weather Service. Its maximum width is estimated at 500 yards; its maximum EF rating was EF-0 (65-85 mph winds).

About 25 victims staying in the American Red Cross shelter at the Moore Community Center had to take cover — again, said Red Cross volunteer Charlotte Murrow Taylor. Wednesday morning, crews were beginning to repair the ceiling damage at the community center.

Taylor, from South Carolina, said victims who come to the shelter are literally picking up the pieces of their lives. Some have been looking for photographs. Many have lost their homes and lost everything. Some have lost loved ones.

“We attempt to provide a safe place for them to stay,” Taylor said.

Red Cross disaster relief focuses on immediate disaster-caused needs so families can get back on their feet and resume their lives as quickly as possible, Red Cross spokesman Ken Garcia said.

Volunteer Les Orser said victims receive safe shelter, hot meals, essential relief supplies, emotional support and health services including first aid.

Orser said the Red Cross delivers different meals every day. Breakfast is served from 7 to 10 a.m., lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. to accommodate individuals with various schedules.

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