Remembering Moore, One Year Later

Today, residents of Moore, Okla., will stop to remember the lives lost one year ago as a devastating tornado swept through the city and surrounding areas.  The ceremony will not only remember the losses, but also look forward to what’s left of the recovery process as leaders break ground for the new Moore Medical Center.

Damage estimates from the May 20, 2013, tornado range from $1.5 to 3 billion, making it one of the most expensive tornadoes in U.S. history.  Twenty-four people were killed by the storm, and 377 people were injured.  Not only were thousands of homes damaged, but also two elementary schools and Moore Medical Center were either flattened or sustained significant damages. One year later, much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done as well.
An 84-page report in March 2014 by the City of Moore, submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, detailed both the damages caused by the storm and unmet needs still requiring action.  Some of the unmet needs include:

  • Housing:  $32.5 million in unmet needs for damages to owner-occupied housing; $39.8 million in unmet needs for damages to rental properties.
  • Businesses: There remains about $1.95 million in small business needs, and that amount does not include risk-reduction costs against future storms.
  • Infrastructure:  Unmet needs for the repair and replacement of public infrastructure are approximately $32.5 million (which, again, does not include mitigation costs).

Taken together, those costs total more than $100 million, and those numbers reflect the largest, most basic categories of unmet needs.  They do not reflect the personal costs and unmet needs from storm losses and injury recovery.
The life cycle of a disaster is long and arduous.  Today in Moore, many will stop to remember the losses of a year ago and celebrate the successes that have happened every day since as they pulled together to recover. It’s a good thing, pausing to reflect.  But the road to complete recovery still has many days left in it, and that’s something we shouldn’t forget.
See photo coverage of the tornado-damaged area, days after the storm, and today, one year later.

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