(Reuters) – In deeply religious Moore, Oklahoma, God and prayer are frequently mentioned as sources of strength for residents reeling from the fourth damaging tornado in 15 years.
“My family and God is what’s helping us through this,” said Vickie Myers, 39, whose husband Brent, a disabled military veteran, is now recovering after he was pulled unconscious from the rubble of their home on Monday.
The tornado was the strongest in the United States in nearly two years and devastated large swaths of Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, which was hit by another huge tornado in 1999. Smaller tornadoes hit the area in 1998 and 2003.
The tornado killed 24 people on Monday (May 20), a remarkably small number considering the ferocity of the storm, officials said, and at least 377 were injured.
Oklahoma is among the states of the so-called “Bible Belt” where church attendance is highest. A Gallup survey published in 2012 found that 77 percent of people in Oklahoma described themselves as strongly or moderately religious – the only state outside the southern region of the country among the 10 most religious states.