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American Red Cross volunteers from Nebraska deployed to Moore, Oklahoma

Joe Wertz, StateImpact Oklahoma and KGOU, Norman, OK

Two American Red Cross volunteers from the Nebraska/southwest Iowa chapter are headed to Moore, Oklahoma, to assist with disaster relief efforts.

Monday’s EF5 tornado tore a 17-mile path through Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 people and injuring more than 200 others. A volunteer from Grand Island left Tuesday for Oklahoma to assist with shelter safety. Another volunteer left Wednesday to help with disaster assessment and emotional support.

Liz Dorland, spokeswoman for the Nebraska/southwest Iowa chapter, says that support can be just as important as the food and shelter provided.

"That emotional support is so incredible and powerful to have, to have somebody come up and give them a hug and give them reassurance that it’s going to be okay, that the Red Cross is going to be there to help them get back on their feet, to help them provide some assistance in cleaning up, they’ll be there with them through that and will continue to be there as well."

The Nebraska/southwest Iowa chapter’s four Emergency Response Vehicles are also on standby in case they’re needed. Dorland says anyone who wants to support Red Cross relief efforts in Oklahoma can do so by phone, text, or by visiting the American Red Cross website.

Oklahoma officials estimated Wednesday that 12,000 to 13,000 homes were destroyed by the tornado.