I need to be working.
But for the last four hours or more, I’ve been glued to my laptop.
I’m watching live coverage of the horrific Category 5 tornado that has devastated Moore, Oklahoma, which is about 5 minutes north of my hometown.
Very early in the piece, KFOR’s weatherman said this two-and-a-quarter mile wide, killer tornado had caused at least three times as much damage as the monster tornado that smashed much of this same area back in May 1999.
The “measured” news reports by Okie journalists is impressive.
And tears from reporters on the ground, with the dead and injured, are totally understandable.
Seems this tornado is “the worst case scenario”.
It went from clear blue skies over Moore, just south of Oklahoma City, to a Category 5 tornado in one hour, which is unheard of.
Then comes the onslaught of bad news, more bad news and then worse news:
- an interview with a dazed old man. His horse farm is simply gone, including 80-100 dead horses
- an emotional reporter talks about seeing four bodies, including a baby, being pulled from one collapsed building
- helicopter shots, and then, later, street shots — after media finally get to the devastated area — show vast areas that look like Ground Zero
- then the worst news of all: up t0 75 kids appear to have been in an elementary school that is smashed to bits
- 37 confirmed fatalities. And it is still early.
- plus 30 children may have died in the elementary school that took a direct hit
All the while, I am Facebooking and Tweeting.
Even though phone lines are down, social media are still working.
My Arkansas niece has already confirmed that our family in Norman and Oklahoma City are safe.
I ring a childhood friend who lives north of the affected area. He is fine. But he sounds grave and shaken.
A high school friend Facebooks from Mexico. “I should be in the pool but I cannot take my eyes of my iPad watching the live streaming.”
Sort of Like 9/11
On Sept. 11, I heard about the terror attacks on the World Trade Centers as I was pulling out of my driveway in West Auckland to go to work at my PR agency.
Almost for the whole day, I was glued to the TV — doing no work — praying for the victims and especially a friend in New York City.
As I write this now, I am sick to death of watching this “heart-breaking and mind-numbing” devastation in Moore. Relentlessly live.
But I cannot stop.
I’m watching confused people, carrying their cats and Bibles, and maybe a single bag, wandering aimlessly, not knowing where to go, but being told they have to get somewhere before night hits.
The number of dead is 51.
And that number will do nothing but climb.
The “search and RECOVERY” at primary schools is still underway.
“Recovery” means those babies and their teachers are dead.
Oklahoma, my heart is on the ground.
Kia Kaha from New Zealand.
I write this, because there is nothing else I can do.
Lord have mercy.
Go here to donate to the Red Cross.