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Obama: Help for tornado-ravaged Oklahoma will be there 'as long as it takes'

President Barack Obama pledged the full resources of the U.S. government to assist the community of Moore, Okla., in its recovery following devastating tornadoes that hit the town on Monday. 

“The people of Moore should know that their country will remain on the ground -- for them, beside them -- for as long as it takes,” Obama said in a statement Tuesday morning at the White House, calling the storm “one of the most destructive tornadoes in history.” Obama said the prayers of the nation are with the people of Oklahoma, adding “as a nation, our full focus right now is on the urgent work of rescue, and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead.”

President Obama delivered a statement on the Oklahoma tornado tragedy that killed dozens in Moore, telling residents that "their country will remain on the ground there for them, beside them as long as it takes."

Noting that process will be long, the president assured that those affected “will not travel that path alone, your country will travel it with you.” 

The president said that he had spoken with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, R, to coordinate the federal government’s assistance to Moore, and had dispatched FEMA Director Craig Fugate to Oklahoma. Obama also signed a disaster declaration on Monday evening opening avenues for federal assistance to those affected by the hurricane. 

Moore, a town which had also suffered a serious tornado in 1999, was damaged heavily during last night’s storm. The president said that it was too early to assess the extent of the damage, death and injuries.

“But if there is hope to hold on to, not just in Oklahoma but around the country, it's the knowledge that the good people there and in Oklahoma are better prepared for this type of storm than most. And what they can be certain of is that Americans from every corner of this country will be right there with them, opening our homes, our hearts to those in need.  Because we're a nation that stands with our fellow citizens as long as it takes.”

Obama urged Americans who are interested in helping the tornado victims to donate to the American Red Cross, which he said is already on the ground in Moore.