Obama travels Oklahoma

Eurasia News

President Barack Obama travelled to Oklahoma Sunday to view devastation from last week’s monster tornado that killed 24 people, as the governor sought federal aid for thousands left destitute by the disaster.

Obama departed Washington a little before 10 am (1400 GMT) for a three-hour flight to the tornado-ravaged state, where he was to meet with survivors and first responders, and will survey the mountains of debris strewn across this battered state.

The tornado was one of the most powerful in years, damaging or destroying 1,200 homes and affecting an estimated 33,000 people, according to a recent update from officials. Initial damages have been estimated at around $2 billion.

The United States experiences three out of four tornadoes in the world, but the one that hit Monday were an unusually powerful EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale — the highest possible level — and touched down with little advance notice.

It followed roughly the same track as the 1999 twister, yet very few homes in Oklahoma — and neither of the stricken schools — had purpose-built storm shelters.