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'We Need Help Bad': 911 Calls Reveal Chaos In Tornado's Wake

An American flag flies over the rubble of a destroyed neighborhood on May 24 in Moore, Okla.
Tom Pennington
/
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An American flag flies over the rubble of a destroyed neighborhood on May 24 in Moore, Okla.

Authorities in Moore, Okla., just released some of the calls that were made to 911 during the EF-5 tornado that devastated the city.

They're harrowing and they offer a glimmer of the chaos and emotion that followed the storm.

During one of the calls, a man tells the dispatcher that the tornado has "cremated" a daycare.

"We need help bad," the man says. You can hear the sounds of children crying in the background. "We need help bad. We got tons of babies in here."

Another woman calls just as the tornado is approaching her. She asks where the tornado is. She sounds desperate and the dispatcher can only give her one piece of advice: "You need to get in shelter!"

The woman replies, "I can't go any place but my closet."

CBS News has posted the audio:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Eyder Peralta is an international correspondent for NPR. He was named NPR's Mexico City correspondent in 2022. Before that, he was based in Cape Town, South Africa.
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