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It’s a race against the clock in Oklahoma.
Rescuers continue to look for survivors trapped in the rubble left by the massive tornado that plowed through Monday.
At least two dozen people have been killed — including nine children — and hundreds more injured.
The initial death toll from the twister was higher, but officials now say some of the victims were counted twice.
Hawaii is about 5,000 miles away, but even here there are many affected by the devastation.
Oahu resident Lauren Makk has family in Oklahoma City. For her, the past 24 hours have been a mixture of frustration, sadness, and relief.
“Everything was knocked out, electricity, gas, all the phone lines were completely destroyed in yesterday’s disaster,” shes.
For Makk, the hardest part was not knowing if her mother, father, and her sister were okay. She eventually got a hold of them on the phone and they’re fine. But she then got a scare from her aunt who was still looking for her daughter.
“She’s screaming, she’s crying, and there’s torrential rain still occurring and the last thing I heard form her was her screaming in tears and her worried about her daughter and then the phone dies,” Makk says.
Relief came hours later when the woman was found. Their homes were also spared from any destruction. But Makk’s friend, Shanese Medina, went back home and found that there was nothing to come home to.
“The only thing that I saw were the front two windows but everything else is pretty much gone in shambles,” Medina says.
This is is the third time a strong tornado has struck the area in 14 years. Makk herself was there when the first one hit in 1999, and had no choice but to take shelter in a car.
“You can just hear things hitting the car and glass breaking and booms of the electrical panels just blowing up around you,” she says.
Her family says the destruction affects you physically and emotionally because there’s still a lot to deal with after the storm has passed.
“About a fourth of the city this power plant is trying to restore so people can bathe, use the toilet and brush their teeth and all the water essentials,” says Lauren’s father, Michael McLeod.
American Red Cross teams from around the country are helping the victims. Hawaii volunteers are on alert and ready to deploy if requested.
If you’d like to help the tornado victims in Oklahoma, you can donate to the Red Cross by going to www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.