IPK's Director Eric Klinenberg contributed his thoughts on the role of government in disaster preparedness in Moore, Oklahoma in a May 24th post on the New Yorker blog.
Moore, Oklahoma, is not unfamiliar with tornadoes: it gets hit by one about once every five years. But the one that touched down there on Monday seemed especially cruel. The storm laid waste to nearly everything in its seventeen-mile path, destroying thirteen thousand homes, causing approximately two billion dollars in property damage, injuring two hundred and thirty-seven people and killing twenty-four, including nine children, so far. Powerful as it was, this week’s tornado pales in comparison to the one that hit Moore fourteen years ago, which tore up thirty-eight miles of land and killed thirty-six people, and to the one that hit Joplin, Missouri, in 2011, which left behind three billion dollars in damage and a hundred and sixty fatalities. The rebuilding effort in Oklahoma is already under way, but everyone in the state knows that more devastating twisters are coming, perhaps soon.