- 05.21.13 12:13 PM EDT
Barack Obama spoke to victims of the Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma tornado on Tuesday. A full transcript of his remarks are below.
OBAMA : Good morning, everybody. As we all know by now, a series of storms swept across the plains yesterday in one of the most destructive tornadoes in history sliced through the towns of Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma. In an instant, neighborhoods were destroyed, dozens of people lost their lives, many more were injured. And among the victims were young children trying to take shelter in the safest place they knew, their school.
Last night, I issued a disaster declaration to expedite those resources, to support the governor's team in the immediate response, and to offer direct assistance to folks who had suffered loss.
I've met with Secretary Napolitano this morning and my homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, to underscore that point that Oklahoma needs to get everything that it needs right away.
The people of Moore should know that their country will remain on the ground there for them, beside them as long as it takes for their homes and schools to rebuild, businesses and hospitals to reopen, their parents to console, first responders to comfort, and, of course, frightened children who will need our continued love and attention. There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms and bedrooms, and classrooms, and in time we're gonna need to refill those spaces with love and laughter and community.
We don't yet know the full extent of the damage from this week's storm. We don't know both the human and economic losses that may have occurred. We know that severe rumbling of weather, bad weather, through much of the country still continues. And we're also preparing for a hurricane season that begins next week.
For all those who've been affected we recognize that you face a long road ahead. In some cases there will be enormous grief that has to be absorbed. But you will not travel that path alone.