President Barack Obama spoke Tuesday on the damage from a massive tornado that ripped through the town of Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday.

"In an instant, neighborhoods were destroyed, dozens of people lost their lives," Obama said.

"In some cases there will be enormous grief that has to be absorbed, but you will not travel that path alone. Your country will travel with you," Obama continued.

"We are a nation that stands with our fellow citizens as long as it takes," Obama said.

Obama noted that Oklahomans would "get everything that it needs right away" to help with tornado recovery. He recognized individuals who worked to protect others during the massive storm, which killed at least 24 people and destroyed a hospital and an elementary school.

"Our gratitude is with the teachers who gave their all to shield their children," Obama said.

Below, Obama's full remarks on the Oklahoma tornado:

Good morning, everybody. As we all know by now, a series of storms swept across the Plains yesterday, and one of the most destructive tornadoes in history sliced through the towns of Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma. In an instant, neighborhoods were destroyed. Dozens of people lost their lives. Many more were injured. And among the victims were young children, trying to take shelter in the safest place they knew -- their school.

So our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today.

Our gratitude is with the teachers who gave their all to shield their children; with the neighbors, first responders, and emergency personnel who raced to help as soon as the tornado passed; and with all of those who, as darkness fell, searched for survivors through the night.

As a nation, our full focus right now is on the urgent work of rescue, and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead.

Yesterday, I spoke with Governor Fallin to make it clear to Oklahomans that they would have all the resources that they need at their disposal. Last night, I issued a disaster declaration to expedite those resources, to support the Governor’s team in the immediate response, and to offer direct assistance to folks who have suffered loss. I also just spoke with Mayor Lewis of Moore, Oklahoma, to ensure that he’s getting everything that he needs.

I've met with Secretary Napolitano this morning and my Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Lisa Monaco, to underscore that point that Oklahoma needs to get everything that it needs right away. The FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, is on his way to Oklahoma as we speak. FEMA staff was first deployed to Oklahoma’s Emergency Operations Center on Sunday, as the state already was facing down the first wave of deadly tornadoes. Yesterday, FEMA activated Urban Search and Rescue Teams from Texas, Nebraska, and Tennessee to assist in the ongoing search and rescue efforts, and a mobile response unit to boost communications and logistical support.

So the people of Moore should know that their country will remain on the ground, there for them, beside them as long as it takes. For there are homes and schools to rebuild, businesses and hospitals to reopen, there are parents to console, first responders to comfort, and, of course, frightened children who will need our continued love and attention.

There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms, and bedrooms, and classrooms, and, in time, we’re going to need to refill those spaces with love and laughter and community.

We don’t yet know the full extent of the damage from this week’s storm. We don't know both the human and economic losses that may have occurred. We know that severe rumbling of weather, bad weather, through much of the country still continues, and we're also preparing for a hurricane season that begins next week.

But if there is hope to hold on to, not just in Oklahoma but around the country, it's the knowledge that the good people there and in Oklahoma are better prepared for this type of storm than most. And what they can be certain of is that Americans from every corner of this country will be right there with them, opening our homes, our hearts to those in need. Because we're a nation that stands with our fellow citizens as long as it takes. We've seen that spirit in Joplin, in Tuscaloosa; we saw that spirit in Boston and Breezy Point. And that’s what the people of Oklahoma are going to need from us right now.

For those of you who want to help, you can go online right now to the American Red Cross, which is already on the ground in Moore. Already we've seen the University of Oklahoma announce that it will provide housing for displaced families. We've seen local churches and companies open their doors and their wallets. And last night, the people of Joplin dispatched a team to help the people of Moore.

So for all those who’ve been affected, we recognize that you face a long road ahead. In some cases, there will be enormous grief that has to be absorbed, but you will not travel that path alone. Your country will travel it with you, fueled by our faith in the Almighty and our faith in one another.

So our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today. And we will back up those prayers with deeds for as long as it takes.

Thank you very much.

This story has been updated with Obama's full remarks.

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  • Moore Residents Begin Painful Recovery From Massive Tornado Strike

    MOORE, OK - MAY 24: Larry Cory displays an American flag outside the funeral for nine-year-old tornado victim Nicholas McCabe on May 24, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. A two-mile wide EF5 tornado touched down in Moore May 20 killing at least 24 people and leaving behind extensive damage to homes and businesses. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    Carol Kawaykla stands in the rubbles of her tornado devastated home in Moore, Oklahoma, on May 24, 2013. The tornado, one of the most powerful in recent years, killed 24 people, injured 377, damaged or destroyed 1,200 homes and affected an estimated 33,000 people in this Oklahoma City suburb, officials said in their latest update. Initial damages have been estimated at around $2 billion. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Moore Residents Continue Painful Recovery From Massive Tornado Strike

    MOORE, OK - MAY 24: Sabrina Mitchell recovers a stuffed doll as she searches for belongings in what was the second floor bedroom of her home which was destroyed by a tornado on May 24, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. A two-mile wide EF5 tornado touched down in Moore May 20 killing at least 24 people and leaving behind extensive damage to homes and businesses. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    Lightning strikes during a thunder storm as tornado survivors search for salvagable stuffs at their devastated home on May 23, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma. Severe thunderstorms barreled through this Oklahoma City suburb at dawn Thursday, complicating clean-up efforts three days after a powerful tornado killed 24 people and destroyed 2,400 homes. More rain was forecast to fall on Moore, soaking the disaster zone where residents had just the day before, under clear blue skies, started picking through the rubble of their destroyed houses to recover personal effects. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Claudia Clark clears tornado debris from a cemetery Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    A tornado-devastated neighborhood is seen during a thunder storm on May 23, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Severe thunderstorms barreled through this Oklahoma City suburb at dawn Thursday, complicating clean-up efforts three days after a powerful tornado killed 24 people and destroyed 2,400 homes. More rain was forecast to fall on Moore, soaking the disaster zone where residents had just the day before, under clear blue skies, started picking through the rubble of their destroyed houses to recover personal effects. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    A cross stands over a destroyed home as the sun rises on May 23, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. A powerful tornado classified as an EF4 passed through the town May 20, destroying homes, schools and businesses and killing 24 people including children. The epic twister, two miles (three kilometers) across, flattened block after block of homes as it struck mid-afternoon Monday, hurling cars through the air, downing power lines and setting off localized fires in a 45-minute rampage. AFP PHOTO/Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Powerful Tornado Rips Through Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 22: Linda Deason collects a picture of her daughter Tracy Stephan, and granddaughter, Abigail Stephan (2 mos. in photo) from her tornado destroyed home on May 22, 2013 in Moore, Ok. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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    An unidentified woman looks over the scene as residents sort through their tornado-ravaged homes Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (Charlie Riedel / AP)

  • Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball player Kevin Durant walks past tornado-damaged homes in a neighborhood in Moore, Okla., Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Durant donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief efforts. The Thunder matched the $1 million donation. At left is one of his friends, Randy Williams. (Sue Ogrocki / AP)

  • Christine Jones (L) is comforted by her daughter Ashley as they stand in front of Christine's home which was destroyed when a tornado ripped through the area on May 22, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide touched down May 20 killing at least 24 people and leaving behind extensive damage to homes and businesses. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

  • Casey Angle, a student at Plaza Towers Elementary School poses for a portrait outside her destroyed home as she holds a family photo that includes her sister Sydney Angle, second from left, on May 22, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Casey's sister Sydney Angle was killed when a powerful tornado classified as an EF4 destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School, which also ripped through the town Monday destroying homes, schools and businesses, killing several people including children. (Joshua Lott / AFP / Getty Images)

  • Don Jackson shows his wife's wedding ring after he found it in the rubble of his home that was destroyed by a tornado that ripped through the area on May 22, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide touched down May 20 killing at least 24 people and leaving behind extensive damage to homes and businesses. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

  • A Dallas Cowboys doll sits on top of a car in the rubble of the tornado May 22, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The two-mile-wide Category 5 tornado touched down May 20 killing at least 24 people and leaving behind extensive damage to homes and businesses. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Brett Deering / Getty Images)

  • Brittany Brown rushes to get aid after finding her grandmother's cat "Kitty" which was buried in tornado rubble for two days at the grandmother's destroyed home Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (Charlie Riedel / AP)

  • Nick Balen holds his daughter Kinley while visiting the destroyed doctor's office where his wife worked and survived Monday's tornado, along with 13 other people, Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Marvin Dixon, the grandfather of 8-year-old tornado victim Kyle Davis, glances down at a photo of his grandson while sitting for a portrait in the lobby of a funeral home where his grandson awaits burial, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Nicknamed "The Wall," Davis loved soccer and going to the Monster Truck exhibitions at the fairgrounds with his grandfather. Kyle was killed Monday, May 20, 2013, when a huge tornado roared through Moore, Okla., flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying his elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds up to 200 mph. (Brennan Linsley / AP)

  • Downed power lines are shown in the backyard of Leslie Paul's home as she is helped by friends recover items Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma. (Tony Gutierrez / AP)

  • James Pitts uses a sledge hammer to try to force open a friend's trunk in a tornado-ravaged car as residents sort through their tornado-ravaged homes Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Rick Brown puts on a pair of boots after finding them in his tornado-ravaged home Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Susan Kates salvages items from a friend's tornado-ravaged home Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Chad Allcox, left, helps his friend Kevin McElvany, right, the home owner, clear debris away from his destroyed home from Monday's tornado Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma. (Tony Gutierrez / AP)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    Road signs and other debris left by the May 20 tornado are seen on May 22, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. As rescue efforts in Oklahoma wound down, residents turned to the daunting task of rebuilding a US heartland community shattered by a vast tornado that killed at least 24 people. The epic twister, two miles (three kilometers) across, flattened block after block of homes as it struck mid-afternoon on May 20, hurling cars through the air, downing power lines and setting off localized fires in a 45-minute rampage. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 22: Eric Lowery looks over damage to his mother's vehicle after it was blown from her workplace and came to rest on debris of a collapsed building nearby after a tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado of at least EF5 strength and two miles wide touched down May 20 killing at least 24 people and leaving behind extensive damage to homes and businesses. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    A man pulling a child's wagon returns to his tornado devastated home on May 22, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. As rescue efforts in Oklahoma wound down, residents turned to the daunting task of rebuilding a US heartland community shattered by a vast tornado that killed at least 24 people. The epic twister, two miles (three kilometers) across, flattened block after block of homes as it struck mid-afternoon on May 20, hurling cars through the air, downing power lines and setting off localized fires in a 45-minute rampage. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 22: Workers remove a damaged neon letter from the marquee in front of the Warren Theater after a tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado of at least EF5 strength and two miles wide touched down May 20 killing at least 24 people and leaving behind extensive damage to homes and businesses. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • At sunrise, police patrol a partially-destroyed row of houses adjacent to a group of homes completely leveled on Monday when a tornado moved through Moore, Okla., Wednesday, May 22, 2013. The huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

  • A brick mailbox lies flattened in front of what used to be Dan and Rebecca Garland's home in Moore, Okla., on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Nearly a dozen neighbors and relatives took refuge in the family's storm shelter during Monday's deadly EF5 tornado. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of the Moore Medical Center destroyed after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • This Tuesday, May 21, 2013 aerial photo shows, from bottom to top, the path Monday's tornado took through Moore, Okla. The huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds. (AP Photo/Kim Johnson Flodin)

  • A home in Moore, Okla. sits severely damaged Tuesday, May 21, 2013, after Monday's massive tornado moved through the area. The huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF SCHOOL TO PLAZA TOWERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - An aerial view of Plaza Towers Elementary School that was damaged in Monday's tornado Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Moore, Oklahoma. A huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb Monday, flattening an entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • A man who asked not to be identified hangs an American flag on what is left of a tree in a neighborhood north of SW 149th between Western and Santa Fe on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, after a tornado struck south Oklahoma City and Moore, Okla., on Monday. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Nate Billing)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of destroyed houses and buildings after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of the destroyed Plaza Tower elementary school after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of destroyed houses and buildings after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of destroyed houses after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of destroyed houses and buildings after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    Men walk at their backyard of their tornado devastated neighbourhood on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Families returned to a blasted moonscape that had been an American suburb Tuesday after a monstrous tornado tore through the outskirts of Oklahoma City, killing at least 24 people. Nine children were among the dead and entire neighborhoods vanished, with often the foundations being the only thing left of what used to be houses and cars tossed like toys and heaped in big piles. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-TORNADO

    A woman salvages memorable from her tornado devastated home on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Families returned to a blasted moonscape that had been an American suburb Tuesday after a monstrous tornado tore through the outskirts of Oklahoma City, killing at least 24 people. Nine children were among the dead and entire neighborhoods vanished, with often the foundations being the only thing left of what used to be houses and cars tossed like toys and heaped in big piles. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: Amber Johnson (R) a fifth grade teacher at Briarwood Elementary School salvages items from her which was parked at the school when a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Johnson is being helped by her daughters Natalie (L) and Nicole. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: Chris Combs and her husband Jimmy look over damge at Briarwood Elementary School after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Chris is a secretary at the school and was inside the school office when the tornado hit. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: Macie Thompson looks over damage at Briarwood Elementary School after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: A pickup truck is wrapped around a tree after a powerful tornado ripped through the neighborhood on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of destroyed houses and buildings after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of destroyed houses and buildings after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of a destroyed house after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • Massive Tornado Causes Large Swath Of Destruction In Suburban Moore, Oklahoma

    MOORE, OK - MAY 21: An aerial view of destroyed houses and buildings after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. U.S. President Barack Obama promised federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. (Photo by Benjamin Krain/Getty Images)

  • A man salvages stuff from what left of a bedroom of his tornado devastated home on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. Families returned to a blasted moonscape that had been an American suburb Tuesday after a monstrous tornado tore through the outskirts of Oklahoma City, killing at least 24 people. Nine children were among the dead and entire neighborhoods vanished, with often the foundations being the only thing left of what used to be houses and cars tossed like toys and heaped in big piles. (Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images)

  • Heath Thayer, left, and his brother Derek Thayer look at Derek's tornado-ravaged pickup truck which was thrown across the street from where it was parked Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Moore, Okla. A huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds. (Charlie Riedel / AP)

  • Zac Woodcock salvages items from the rubble of a tornado-ravaged rental home which they own Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Moore, Okla. A huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb Monday, flattening an entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds. (Charlie Riedel / AP)


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While the Moore Medical Center crumbled around her on Monday afternoon, Shay-la Taylor was in labor with her second baby boy.

The mom-to-be knew about the severe weather watch as she checked into the hospital to be induced at 9 a.m. that morning, but says she wasn’t really nervous.

“We’re used to tornadoes and sirens,” the 25-year-old mom told HuffPost in a phone interview. “If you freaked out every time you heard a siren, you’d have an anxiety attack every May in Oklahoma.”

Click here to read the rest of her tale.

--Farah L. Miller

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Sprinkles Cupcakes in Los Angeles plans to donate all of the proceeds from their (ever-popular) Red Velvet cupcake sold on May 22 to support Oklahomans affected by Monday's tornado.

"As a native Oklahoman with my parents and brother still living in Oklahoma City, I am especially heartbroken by this devastating tragedy," Charles Nelson, co-founder of Sprinkles, stated on Facebook.

For more, click here.

--Sasha Bronner

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moore tornado kevin durant

Basketball player Kevin Durant viewed tornado-damaged homes in Moore, Okla., on Wednesday. The Oklahoma City Thunder star also donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief efforts. The Thunder later matched the $1 million donation. (Sue Ogrocki / AP)

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The post office branch in Moore, Okla., was one of the thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed by Monday's twister. To help residents impacted by the disaster, the US Postal Service is setting up mail service alternatives in the area, News9.com reported.

Some of the options being offered include held mail, portable post offices and delivery service through an alternative office nearby. Letter carriers will also attempt to deliver mail wherever possible.

Click here for more.

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HuffPost's Lynne Peeples reports:

Chris Whitley had already survived three tornadoes and had worked at the scene of dozens more before arriving in Joplin, Mo.

"It was unlike anything I'd ever seen," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spokesman recalled of the devastation left by the deadly twister that struck the town two years ago Wednesday.

"So far," he added, "pictures from Moore are very eerily familiar."

As they did in the wake of the Joplin tornado, Whitley and other experts are warning of dangers that may not be obvious in photographs of the wreckage in Moore, Okla., where a mile-wide tornado tore through the town and took the lives of at least 24 people on Monday.

In addition to rusty nails, shattered glass, falling debris and loose wires, hazards such as cancer-causing asbestos and neurotoxic lead can be stirred up by the violent winds and by recovery efforts themselves. Such risks may raise the toll of death and injury over the days, even decades, ahead.

Read the rest here.

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HuffPost's Saki Knafo reports:

“I’m being totally honest with you,” Darius, 15, said. “I don’t even know where we are.”

The wreckage left by the mile-wide tornado that swept across central Oklahoma, killing at least 24 people, is so comprehensive and so jumbled that it challenges the very concept of rebuilding. So little is left that it’s hard to know where to start. Thousands of people are now homeless, their houses battered beyond recognition and their futures far from clear.

For Darius, a sense of dislocation is nothing new. Until he was 8, he lived in an apartment in New Orleans. Then Hurricane Katrina hit, and he and his mom evacuated to Houston, before resettling here, in the suburbs of Oklahoma City.

His mother’s constant fights with his stepdad prompted him to seek refuge. In February, he moved into a spare room in Brandon’s home a few blocks away, effectively becoming part of the Dick family. For the first time in his life, he had a place he called home.

Now, it's gone.

Read the rest here.

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HuffPost's Ben Hallman reports from Moore:

Judy Peterson has big plans for restoring her home, which was damaged in the brutal tornado that devastated this community on Monday. A man at her church has volunteered to remove the pear tree that fell on her driveway and her son-in-law, a contractor, has promised to help repair her roof and windows.

But on Wednesday afternoon, she was sitting on the pavement with her daughter in the bright sunshine at an intersection leading into her neighborhood. She had been there for a while. As with some 80 or so other residents milling around here, police had prevented Peterson from returning to her home to gather valuables and begin to clean up.

“It’s frustrating to be here because there is so much else we could be doing,” Peterson said. “I’m trying to be open-minded about the whole thing.”

Read more here.

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News9 reports:

Shayla Taylor was in the middle of labor on the second floor of Moore medical when the tornado hit, but baby wasn't on her brain.

Her family, including her husband were sent downstairs to the cafeteria, but Shayla was too far along to be moved. Moments later: a direct hit.

Read more here.

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HuffPost's Michael McAuliff reports:

Oklahoma's senators can thank sequestration, and perhaps more importantly, funding for Superstorm Sandy cleanup that they opposed, for sparing them from a difficult vote on disaster aid for tornado-ravaged Oklahomans.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) argued that an aid bill for the Sooner State would be totally different than the Sandy bill. And Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) argued in an interview Wednesday that Oklahomans will get whatever they need from the federal government without new help because the the Federal Emergency Management Agency has "$11.8 billion sitting on the side."

"We're not going to come close to that with this," Coburn said on CBS. "Oklahomans like to care for their own, and we'll take the help that's appropriate."

Read more here.

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The Associated Press says the state medical examiner's office has released a complete list of the names and ages of the 24 people killed in the tornado. Click here for the full list.

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KFOR reports:

William H. Macy, his wife, Felicity Huffman, and other members of the Rudderless movie cast and crew reached out to help Oklahomans after the recent tornadoes.

The stars were here shooting a pivotal scene on location at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

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Suzanne Haley, a teacher's aide at Briarwood Elementary School, was impaled in her leg while protecting students during the Moore, Okla. tornado. The school was in the direct path of the twister and completely destroyed, but there were no fatalities.

Click here to read more. The post does include graphic photos.

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Megan Futrell, a 29-year-old mother of two, died in Monday's tornado with her 4-month-old child, Case, according to a statement emailed to The Huffington Post by the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Futrell and her baby were killed when the roof collapsed on a 7-Eleven, where the two were sheltered in a walk-in cooler, the Oklahoman reports. Just minutes before, Futrell had grabbed Case from a babysitter and run inside the store to wait out the tornado. She realized she couldn't outrun the storm in her car, the paper notes.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has asked for "swift and immediate" aid following the Oklahoma tornado and asked lawmakers to set aside partisanship and any "political retribution."

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As families across Oklahoma start to pick up the pieces in the wake of Monday's devastating tornado, one family is reeling after the loss of two of their children to the storm..

Speaking with the Daily Mail, the childrens' father, Phillip Vargyas, still sounded dazed.

"We just don’t know what to do anymore," he said, adding, "At this point we have a lot of things to do, little things to do for the girls. ... We are trying to move in the right direction but it’s hard to know where to go at all, what to do."

karrina sydnee vargyas

Photo courtesy of: KCEN-TV.

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Rep. Tom Cole on bipartisan tornado response: "I have gotten more texts from both sides of the aisle on this than over my entire career combined."

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said the federal government will financially support clean up efforts following the Moore tornado.

"The federal government will assume 85 percent of the cost for the first 30 days, 80 percent for the next 60 days. That will allow the state and communities to draw funds very quickly."

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