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Obama declares major disaster in Okla, tornado death 51

World News : Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says “hearts are broken” for parents wondering about the fate of their children after a tornado devastated suburban Oklahoma City and officials say the search and rescue effort will continue throughout the night.

Fallin told a Monday news conference that a center for those seeking loved ones has been set up at a church in Moore, where an afternoon tornado flattened entire neighborhoods and destroyed an elementary school with a direct hit. She says responders are working as quickly as they can to sort through the rubble.

Authorities who joined Fallin say search and rescue efforts are ongoing and will continue overnight.

The governor says the state will spare no resource in the tornado recovery and will consider using Oklahoma’s rainy day fund in the effort.

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office says a growing death toll from a massive tornado that struck outside Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon now stands at 51. Spokeswoman Amy Elliott says the death toll is again expected to rise. Elliott says children are among those killed by the storm.

Integris Southwest Medical Center spokeswoman Brooke Cayot (KAY’-ot) said 10 of 37 patients being treated at that facility Monday are listed in critical condition. Twelve are in serious and 15 others are listed in fair or good condition.

Five of the patients are children, including two who came from the Plaza Towers Elementary School, where an Associated Press photographer saw several children being pulled from the rubble. Cayot could not confirm the children’s conditions.

Spokesman Scott Coppenbarger says another 20 patients of various ages are being treated at OU Medical Center. He says eight of them are children.

Several children have been pulled out of the rubble alive at a school in an Oklahoma City suburb.

An Associated Press photographer saw several children being pulled out of what was left of the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday after a massive tornado hit the region.

Rescue workers lifted children from the rubble before they were passed down a human chain and taken to a triage center set up in the school’s parking lot.

The school is southwest of Oklahoma City. Its roof appears mangled and the walls had fallen in or had collapsed.

The National Weather Service said the tornado’s preliminary classification was an EF-4, with winds up to 200 mph.

Authorities say emergency crews are working to rescue people trapped in Moore, which is southwest of Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson said emergency crews are trying to reach the affected areas. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The suburb of Moore was hit hard by a tornado in 1999. The storm had the highest winds ever recorded near the earth’s surface.

A mix of volunteers and first responders are combing through debris in an Oklahoma City suburb looking for survivors.

The city of Moore, Okla., was hit by a mile-wide tornado on Monday afternoon.

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