[Updated 10:45 am, May 21: An earlier version said at least 91 people were dead, but an updated report in The New York Times says that spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City medical examiner Amy Elliot's figures that at least 51 people were dead and 40 more bodies were being delivered is "no longer accurate." The confirmed death toll is 24.]
As darkness fell on the tornado-ripped community of Moore, Okla., and the severely damaged areas surrounding Oklahoma City on Monday, at least 24 people, including children, were confirmed dead as the search for survivors continued. Many undamaged and secure structures, such as churches, served as emergency shelters for those whose homes were destroyed as the result of the 200 mph winds. Government-funded disaster relief teams were joined by faith-based organizations, some already mobilized from previous disaster efforts, for immediate action.
A frantic search for students, teachers and staff at the flattened Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore, which was in the storm's direct path, continued into Tuesday morning. Reports indicate that 75 third-graders were believed to have been huddled when the tornado struck, with seven now confirmed dead, a number of students showing up alive at a nearby church, and many still missing. more >>
Even as the Northeast was still digging out on Sunday after a massive blizzard, a tornado, part of a wave of severe storms, ripped through southern Mississippi, injuring at least a dozen people, damaging hundreds of homes and parts of the University of Southern Mississippi, and causing widespread power outages.
The twister struck a main street of Hattiesburg in Forrest County less than an hour before dark, mangling homes, commercial buildings and structures on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
At least 10 people were injured in surrounding Forrest County and three were hurt to the west in Marion County, but they weren't aware of any deaths, The Associated Press reported, quoting emergency officials. more >>
A major pharmaceutical company has opted to sever ties with a libertarian think tank that provides arguments critical of global warming and the effects of tobacco smoking.
Pfizer Inc., a New York City-based business that boasts of being the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company, decided to cut financial support from the Heartland Institute.
Sharon Castillo, spokeswoman for Pfizer, told The Christian Post that the decision was implemented earlier this month for multiple reasons. more >>
A recent survey found that while the majority of Americans believe the weather has become more extreme in the past few years, their viewpoints differ regarding what is causing this climate change.
A December survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that the majority of Americans (63 percent) believe the severe weather is due to global climate change, while 36 percent (4 in 10) believe it is evidence of the "end times", as taught in the Bible's book of Revelation.
More specifically, the majority of white mainline Protestants (65 percent) and Catholics (60 percent) believe the recent natural disasters are due to climate change, while the majority of white evangelical Protestants (65 percent) believe the weather is a foreshadowing of end times, according to the institute's recent press release. more >>
As media outlets begin wrapping up their coverage of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy in the Staten Island, New York area, residents are just beginning to contemplate reconstruction from both a physical and spiritual perspective.
For Rich Schnur, a member of the Oasis Christian Center and father of two, the super storm which ravaged his Midland Beach neighborhood just one month ago was nothing less than a nightmare. The storm surge caused by Sandy's fierce winds ripped through his block, flooding both of his vehicles and reaching up to the first floor in his home making it uninhabitable for quite some time.
Schnur lost many of his possessions in the storm, including pictures of his children as babies and other irreplaceable items. But despite the hardship of loss and relocation, his hope has not dwindled during his clean-up and reconstruction efforts. more >>
NEW YORK – President Barack Obama encouraged Staten Island, N.Y., residents yesterday when he visited the New Dorp Beach area of the borough, a place hit extremely hard by superstorm Sandy.
The president arrived in Miller Field, a former Army base located behind New Dorp High School, around noon, where he met with FEMA and American Red Cross workers assisting in the relief efforts.
After a short meet and greet inside the tents where many New Dorp residents have received aid over the past few weeks, the president then worked his way up to the nearby Cedar Grove Avenue, where he met with families whose homes were destroyed by Sandy. more >>