Obama visits tornado-stricken Oklahoma
US President Barack Obama arrived in the central US state of Oklahoma Sunday to tour the devastation left by a massive tornado struck a suburb of Oklahoma City last week, dpa reported.
He walked through one of the devastated areas after first meeting with Governor Mary Fallin at the airport. Obama is to offer condolences to victims of the twister that hit Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, killing 24 people, including 10 children.
"It's important for the people in these communities to understand that the entire nation is standing with them in their time of need," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on the flight from Washington.
An estimated 13,000 houses were destroyed by the storm, which also injured 350 people. Damage is estimated at 2 billion dollars.
The federal government has sent more than 450 responders to the area to assist in cleanup operations and help residents file for aid, Earnest said. So far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has provided some 43,000 meals, 150,000 litres of water and thousands of cots, blankets and tarps, he said.
A prayer service is planned for Sunday evening at a church in Moore, however, it will take place after Obama leaves. The service is open to the public and everyone is invited, Fallin said.
Meanwhile, donations for the victims are pouring in. A concert to benefit the victims will be held Wednesday in Oklahoma City. Country-western singer Blake Shelton, who is from Oklahoma, will host the event. Country-western stars Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Miranda Lambert are expected to perform.