AFTER: Oklahoma Tornado Disaster

Rescue workers search for survivors among debris; Some residents return to salvage belongings.
8:36 | 05/21/13

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Transcript for AFTER: Oklahoma Tornado Disaster
This is a special report from ABC news. Hello when I'm -- Cutler -- New York with this ABC news digital special report on the Oklahoma tornado disaster. The damage in Oklahoma. Staggering in the town of more. Simply shell shocked search teams and National Guard troops are going through that rubble today hoping to find survivors. In the field of debris making it all the more difficult in their efforts landmarks are gone streets are difficult to navigate through rescuers having -- tough time making their way through that area if you take a look. This area in Moore Oklahoma was the site of another deadly tornado back in 1999. It was an EF five that killed 42 people. The path almost identical to yesterday's tornado that -- touchdown just before 3 o'clock local time there and has swept through that area. -- the latest that we're getting from the Oklahoma medical Examiner's office has the death tolls from that disaster is now at 24 and that includes nine children. In all that tornado. Was two miles wide it was. On the ground for about 45 minutes and it tore a twelve mile stretch -- cross the strait of destruction. It flattened schools and businesses entire neighborhoods. Simply gone the president earlier today had made a news conference. Offering prayers and support from the federal government and also the National Guard. In there right now trying to make a recovery effort going under way the president. Borrowing for an urgent response to Oklahoma's and at the town of more needs to get everything it needs. Right away. Certainly something that the president has been watching along with the governor will be holding a news conference a little bit later on this afternoon about the latest on the recovery efforts and the search efforts that are going on there. But this tornadoes striking in the afternoon when a lot of schools were still under way and as you can see from some of the video here as people work. Trying to make their way back through the neighborhood of more just to understand the scope of the devastation. People we're just simply paralyzed just standing there in shock. By what was right before them. A lot of young kids there again still in school -- and -- just unbelievably shocked by this twister that had torn through. Two schools in the town of Moore were simply flattened by that tornado and one of them the Breyer -- elementary school. The first grade teacher Cindy -- told Good Morning America how she jumped into action yesterday reliant on some earlier training. Also say some of her students. I actually. -- tornados can mean. He knew how serious it was and it was just trying to calm let children down. That yes that -- just saying despite serious head giving and getting them covered. You know we practiced tornado drills and things like this and I had to tell them this is not a drill. Plan and we need to be safe and just laying my. Body -- -- -- as many kids like it. The pictures just almost unimaginable. And ABC's Alex Perez is on the ground in the middle of the destruction -- Outside understand that obviously the recovery the cleanup effort is going on right now but a great deal of shock across more today. -- -- -- It's almost not as strong an -- word to describe what people are feeling right now it's extremely devastating there are no words to really. Convey what people are feeling here right now. Now authorities just a short time ago revised. Got told to 24. Including nine children. Last night and earlier this morning that was at about. Fifty or -- authorities say there's so much chaos last night in the last few hours that they just. Could not figure out what exactly was going on now I want to show you just. The scene here behind me in this is pretty much what it looks like. All over Moore Oklahoma. -- completely completely torn apart and shattered. People walking around trying to salvage whatever it is they can. But if it's devastating this is these are people's homes people have been working. On this their entire lives and times and it was wiped away with in -- a couple of minutes last night. Now rescue crews are still out there trying to. I see if there any signs of any one that may be underneath some of this rubble that still. Is searching for help we learned that overnight at least a 101. People were discovered in shelters. Us arresting Jews were rescue crews were able to get people out and to safety. But that search is continuing right now and as you know the clock is ticking as more time passes by the chances. Finding someone underneath this rubble okay. Those chances get much much. Slimmer now another big problem here we are seeing a lot of house pets animals that are just walking around -- Also loss just don't know. -- -- -- -- they lost their owners they lost their homes so the problems here are multi -- -- so many things and the idea of leading up. And returning to normal it's just something that's difficult to even conceive right now so and Alex -- -- -- -- the National Guard and local officers there are trying to get control the situation get that area secured but they are letting people back in. To that area -- to search for things. Well it depends where exactly your home was there are -- areas where some people are being escorted back to their homes. There are other areas where -- still waiting waiting for utility crews to get -- to make sure God's power lines and all those things. Are in order and turned off before they let the general public back in there so it really depends where your home falls in all of this provides. Some people are being let back again. And trying to assess the damage obviously making the problems that much more complicated out Perez out thank you for that we we appreciate -- I want to go over to ABC's Martha Gonzales who is also in more today. -- talked to -- a little bit about the rescue operations that are under way because obviously it's very difficult for them to get in there to navigate around through all that destruction. That's right and and they did not give -- they were out throughout the night searching in the darkness for any survivors. I'm going around past the rubble trying to see if they could maybe hear the voices of anyone trapped underneath. Have what we have learned that it is now a recovery effort at that one elementary school where we know. There were several fatalities they are not expecting to find any more survivors there. All right and of course obviously as that -- is continuing to grapple with the the devastation that what about and people coming back in I know we are speaking with options look minute ago about sort of are making their way back -- -- -- for the most part people staying in shelters though at this point. A lot of people say that they are staying with friends and family the Red Cross has opened up several shelters and they say they're actually pretty empty because. This is a kind of place where people grew up their families are still -- that they have. Other places to stay but yet people are still are coming back to their homes today. Trying to salvage whatever they can as Alex was saying it didn't really isn't a lot to salvage -- you can see people kind of picking through the rubble seeing what's left. In this home to my rightly -- speaking with these homeowners here who came back today. To get a look at things and they they found a few surprises Dave on -- -- -- still had a stack of quarters left sitting on -- that was left there before the storm. They found the cloying and they're -- hunt still alive so -- They're the little things that are bringing smiles to people's faces you live here. Despite all of the tragedy all of the terrible things that they saw yesterday they're they're trying to find hope. Town certainly in need of hope and a lot of help ABC's -- Gonzales and more Marcy thank you. Of course you can follow the latest on the recovery efforts in the cleanup efforts and how you can help out more Oklahoma. On abcnews.com. Throughout the day. For now I'm Dan Cutler New York with this ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from ABC news did you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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