AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) - President Barack Obama will travel to tornado-ravaged Moore, Okla., on Sunday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the president will view the tornado damage first-hand. He also plans to meet with victims and first responders.
Thousands in Moore were still without power Wednesday, some even staying in tents on their lawn where their home once stood. Rebuilding and recovery continued after the deadly tornado that killed 24 and left 2,400 homes damaged or destroyed.
As state and federal officials work to set up disaster recovery centers to provide aid and assistance, residents of Moore were beginning the deliberate process of assessing what's left of their homes and possessions and what comes next.
Helmeted rescue workers have been searching tirelessly for survivors and victims, and officials said Tuesday they planned to keep going — sometimes double- and triple-checking home sites. Officials were not certain of how many homes were destroyed or how many families had been displaced. Emergency crews had trouble navigating devastated neighborhoods because there were no street signs left. Some rescuers used smartphones or GPS devices to guide them through areas with no recognizable landmarks.
Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird said Tuesday he was confident there are no more bodies or survivors in the rubble. Every damaged home had been searched at least once, Bird said, but his goal was to conduct three searches of each building just to be certain there were no more bodies or survivors.
"I'm 98 percent sure we're good," Bird said.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has opened a center in Moore to assist in the tornado recovery. It is treating people on a walk-in basis and offering training for licensed mental health professionals who want to help.
Meanwhile, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said U.S. officials are "going neighborhood to neighborhood" to make sure Oklahoma gets the help it needs.
"We don't leave here when the cameras leave. We stay here and get the job done." Craig Fugate told CNN.
The signs of the emotional toll this is taking are evident, and not just on the families who lost their loved ones and homes.
The first responders and rescuers, who had to put their emotions aside for a while to get the job done, are now feeling the full weight of this disaster.
"Words can't describe everything we've been seeing right now," said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Jennifer Wehr.
"As a father of two young elementary students, it hurts knowing that there were children lost," said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Mike Bell.
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