A day after a tornado turned an Oklahoma City suburb into a war zone and killing at least two dozen, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the nation’s prayers are with the people of Moore, Okla. and that the federal government will help residents recover.
“As a nation, our full focus is on the urgent work of rescue and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead,” Obama said in brief remarks from the State Dining Room in the White House.
Addressing the people of the 55,000 residents of Moore, Obama acknowledged their loss, but said they are not alone. “You face a long road ahead, but you will not travel it alone. Your country will travel it with you,” he said, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Obama noted that the town of Joplin, Mo., where a 2011 tornado killed 158, has deployed a team of first responders to help in Moore, saying that spirit of assistance will continue in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Obama announced that already federal aid is flowing into the storm-ravaged area in the form of FEMA urban rescue teams and damage assessment teams. Late Monday, Obama issued a major disaster deceleration for Oklahoma, paving the way for additional help and federal disaster relief funding. Obama spoke with Gov. Mary Fallin and Moore Mayor Glen Lewis to make sure they have everything they need to carry out rescue and relief operations.
“Our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today,” Obama concluded, ”and we’ll back up those prayers with deeds for as long as it takes.”