Social networks provide help online in time of need

Residents of tornado-hit Oklahoma joined forces via social media in an effort to reunite one another with loved ones, beloved pets and precious belongings lost in the storm.

Photographs of missing children were circulated on Facebook and Twitter while groups were set up online by people searching for neighbours, friends and family.

Pictures of lost and found pets were also being posted by worried owners and those who had rescued them.

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Treasured photographs found strewn up to 100 miles away after being ripped out of people’s homes were also being reunited with their owners after pictures of them were posted on Facebook, where local photographers were offering their services to restore damaged images free of charge.

Leslie Edgar Hagelberg, who set up one such group, which also aims to return important documents lost in the storm, said: “Our goal is to help our fellow Oklahomans in a time of need.”

Collections of food, clothing and other vital supplies were also being co-ordinated online, along with fund-raising activities and volunteer clean-up efforts.

Among the groups rallying support for the recovery mission was Oklahomans Helping Oklahomans, which was set up in response to wildfires that ravaged parts of the state last year.

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Its founder, Creek County paramedic Matthew Llewellyn said: “Our hearts are breaking as we’re watching the footage come in from Moore.

“With the big hearts of Oklahomans, we know the victims needs will be provided for.

“For now, keep the area in your prayers, and may God bless the hands of the rescuers trying to dig people from the rubble.”