In the month following the devastating F5 tornado that swept through Moore, Oklahoma, we have mobilized our network to assess the area for prevailing unmet needs. To date, Architecture for Humanity has raised $27,000 to respond to the storm.
All this month, Architecture for Humanity volunteers have been evaluating how our reconstruction services could make the largest impact with funds raised through Rebuild Moore. Discussions are ongoing, working from these assessments, and our prior US disaster experience with Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and last year's tornadoes through Southern Illinois.
Covered for recovery. The damage wrought by the May 20 tornado is almost entirely residential. Many of these homeowners have already begun receiving FEMA support to rebuild. Funding has also been committed to rebuild the three main community facilities: Plaza Towers and Briarwood Elementary Schools; and Moore Medical Center.
Safety in excavation. The crux lies in how to accommodate the next storm. The tornado serves as a reminder that little can withstand an F5 tornado. Making matters worse, as we've mentioned, Oklahoma soil conditions generally prevent houses from building basements - yet sheltering underground seems the only way to ensure safety in the strongest storms.
In highly residential suburban areas like Moore, community sites will often be out of range for the minutes-long warnings for which a swiftly worsening storm will allow.
As we respond to Moore, we must consider the needs of the region facing these criteria. The response must set a replicable example - ensure safety and security against the worse weather, and despite the most difficult challenges.
This is where design comes in.
Stay tuned for continuing updates on the long-term resilient recovery in Oklahoma. Also, check out the Rebuild Moore letterpress designed by Oklahomans to support for their neighbors' recovery.
Images below taken by Architecture for Humanity volunteer Tommy Stewart, June 5-7 2013.
Some lesser-hit homes have made temporary repairs
Leveled lots, uncooperative earth
Single-family shelter (foreground)