First Okla. tornado victim buried as aid, reconstruction begin

May 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM
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MOORE, Okla., May 24 (UPI) -- The first of the victims of the Moore, Okla., tornado has been buried as aid began rolling in and insurance checks seeded reconstruction, officials said.

Antonia Lee Candelaria, 9, was among seven children killed Monday when the twister sporting 200 mph winds hit Plaza Towers Elementary School.

Gov. Mary Pallin will attend a public memorial service for all 24 victims Sunday and President Obama, who will be in the disaster area, may also be there, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

While pouring rain Thursday knocked over some relief tents and drenched some supplies, volunteers at a Federal Emergency Management Agency relief center set up inside a church laid out rows of donated shoes, children's books, cans of food and bottles of water.

The state has allocated $45 million from a rainy-day fund to the area's storm recovery, and several state legislators have established a non-profit fund to finance the construction of storm shelters in schools.

Property damage along the storm's 17-mile path has been estimated at $2 billion, and some 6,700 claims have been filed for homes, cars and businesses. But because of a string of natural disasters in recent years that have resulted in multibillion-dollar payouts by insurance companies, insurance officials and government regulators say Oklahomans affected by the tornado may be in for a shock.

Policies now have higher deductibles, smaller reimbursements for roof damage and caps on payouts for reconstruction of a house, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"The days of having a $250 deductible or even a $500 deductible are very quickly going away, if they're there at all," said John Wiscaver, vice president of public affairs for Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance. "You have to assume a little more risk."

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