MOORE, Okla. (BP) -- Dozens were killed as a historic tornado moved through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, Okla., Monday afternoon (May 20) prompting the North American Mission Board to direct all incoming disaster relief funds to the area.
By Tuesday morning the death toll was reported at 51 and climbing, but the medical examiner's office later revised that to at least 24 deaths including nine children, according to the Associated Press.
Many of the victims were children, after the tornado severely damaged two elementary schools. The search for survivors continued Tuesday, and it was unclear how many could still be trapped in rubble, dead or alive.
Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter expressed concern for the tragedy in the nation's heartland.
"On behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention, our prayers and thoughts are with the families and victims of the tragic tornado in Moore, Okla.," Luter said in a statement May 21. "Not only our prayers but disaster relief teams from across the SBC are there to assist in any way possible. May God give the citizens of Moore, Okla., comfort, strength and hope during this trying time."
More than 230 people were injured as the two-mile wide tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes, cutting a 17-mile path in a heavily populated area. An early estimate rated the tornado as an EF4, CNN said.
The North American Mission Board, in charge of the national Southern Baptist Disaster Relief operation, used Twitter Monday night to signal an exclusive allotment of funds.
"We are currently directing all donations to our disaster fund to Oklahoma City relief. #prayforoklahoma," NAMB tweeted with a link to a donation form.
Frank Page, president of the SBC's Executive Committee, told Baptist Press May 21 his prayers "go out to the dear people of Oklahoma during this tragic time." Read More