Cleanup crews move into Oklahoma town devastated by tornado - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Cleanup crews move into Oklahoma town devastated by tornado

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More than $2 billion, that's the preliminary estimate from state officials who are assessing the tornado damage in Moore, Oklahoma.

The number of dead still stands at 24 with more than 300 hospitalized. Wednesday, volunteers and cleanup crews moved in, including teams from Austin.

As heavy equipment rolled in to haul away debris, relief supplies were being loaded up. A small army of volunteers has assembled in Moore, Oklahoma.

Among those here to help are about a dozen members of the Austin Disaster Relief Network. They arrived Tuesday. The team not only is here to join the growing line of volunteers, they've also brought $50,000 in gift cards to distribute to tornado victims.

FOX 7 asked Paige Webb of the Austin Disaster Relief Network, "Wouldn't you rather be kicked up and comfortable in Austin?"

"No, I couldn't stay still down there. We need to be here and make a move and make a difference and get the people connected," Webb replied.

Piles of clothing and household goods are being donated. There are boxes and buckets of water, along with hand-delivered meals.

Kate Dischino, a former Austin resident, is part of an emergency response team from Connecticut. They're helping to replace medicine and medical devices lost to disaster.

"And it's devastating, but I think everyone coming together and coordinating to meet those needs is essential," Dischino said.

Right now, shovels, rakes, and other yard tools are the essentials, as this community rolls up its sleeves and starts the cleanup.

The bond of neighbor-helping-neighbor began almost moments after the storm moved out.

"I've never seen anything like this. It's almost like a bomb went off. When we came out of the cellar, it was horrific," storm survivor Barbara Brown said.

Barbara Brown and her husband pulled people out of the rubble Monday afternoon.

Now, the former Round Rock resident is waiting to get back to her home and start rebuilding. To her friends in Austin, who are helping with recovery, she says "I want to thank you so much for doing this for us. And we are all together. We love ya, and hello Austin."

If you would like to help the Oklahoma tornado victims here are three ways you can. You can text "red cross" to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross. You can text "storm" to 80888 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army and you can text "food" to 32333 to donate $10 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

These organizations are saying monetary donations are the best right now so they can buy supplies in bulk and get them faster to recipients.

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