Battered Oklahoma tornado survivors unite to rebuild

A woman walks past the open door of her uncle's former home in Moore, Oklahoma. Photo: Reuters

The week is ending for the battered and bruised residents of Moore, Oklahoma.

I'm left with two overwhelming impressions: the power of nature and the strength of a community.

When I arrived in the town, I was in awe of the destructive power of the 200mph winds. By the time I departed, I was even more in awe of how residents were pulling together and how their optimism was undiminished.

Survivors are in shock but they are not complaining. No one is despondent. They know that if they escaped alive from the tornado, they were lucky.

I spoke to one woman who is reluctantly leaving Moore forever. She is so traumatized by the extreme weather that she experienced on Monday that she now weeps even when it rains. She will try to find a quieter, more benign corner of America.

But many more residents are vowing to stay and to rebuild.

They talk of Tornado Alley with more respect than ever before but point out that every part of America endures extreme weather. Besides, they say, Moore is their home and they are proud of its values.

We can be sure that when they do build a new property the most important room in the house will be underground: the tornado shelter.

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