VIDEO: World Vision launches response to Oklahoma tornado

UPDATED: World Vision has deployed an assessment team and a truck filled with relief supplies to respond to the needs of families devastated by the catastrophic tornado that blasted an area outside of Oklahoma City.

By Kathryn Reid and Amy Parodi, World Vision U.S.
Published May 23, 2013 at 12:00am PDT

The massive May 20 tornado near Oklahoma City packed 200-mph winds and raked a 12-mile path, destroying homes and severely damaging two elementary schools.

World Vision is responding to the needs of affected children and families.

A horrific scene

An estimated 24 people are believed to be dead, including 10 children.

The tornado ripped apart two elementary schools in Moore, Oklahoma: Plaza Towers was flattened, while Briarwood took a “direct hit,” according to local media reports.

“We’re heartbroken to hear the reports that so many children lost their lives in this storm,” said Phyllis Freeman, World Vision’s domestic disaster response director.

Heavy rain, hail, and flash flood warnings are keeping many families from returning to survey the damage to their devastated homes.

World Vision’s response

World Vision staff have arrived in Moore with a 53-foot trailer loaded with food kits, cleaning supplies, paper products, diapers, and blankets. The trailer will serve as a mobile warehouse from which World Vision will distribute vital relief supplies to families hit hardest by the storms.

Freeman is part of the assessment team in Moore. In addition to those already in the region, World Vision is sending staff from its national headquarters and distribution center in the Pacific Northwest to provide additional support this week.

“Our staff are moving in to bring as much help, comfort, and encouragement as possible,” said Freeman.

In 2012, World Vision’s domestic disaster response team provided relief for more than 47,000 people, including more than 30,000 children. Last week, World Vision responded with relief supplies and emergency kits to the families affected by the deadly tornadoes in North Texas.

Learn more

Watch a video detailing a tornado survivor’s harrowing experience — and view a slideshow of images from the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma.

Check out a list of frequently asked questions about how World Vision responds to disasters in the United States.

How you can help

Pray for Oklahoma children and families affected by this terrible tornado, especially those who have lost loved ones or whose homes have been destroyed.

Make a one-time donation to our U.S. Disaster Response Fund. Your gift will help position us to respond quickly and effectively to disasters that occur right here in the United States, like the recent tornadoes in North Texas and Oklahoma.

Or, make a $10 donation via your mobile phone. Text “Tornado” to 777444. (Messaging and data rates may apply.)