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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Debbie Elliott.

Officials in southwestern Kansas are looking for survivors of a deadly tornado that struck last night. Forecasters described the tornado as a wedge, at least three-quarters of a mile wide. It virtually described this small farming of Greensburg. The storm killed at least nine people and injured dozens more. Emergency officials say it may take days to recover the injured and dead.

Reporter Frank Morris is just outside Greensburg and joins us on the line. Frank, I understand you were not able to actually get into the town because of the devastation there. But can you tell us what you were able to see and what you're hearing there.

FRANK MORRIS: Well I went to a shelter where there are a lot of people. A lot of people milling around, some people joking and laughing, but telling their stories and telling about the other obliteration of Greensburg.

The hospital was essentially destroyed. Thirty people were trapped there overnight who've been led out by rescuers in the morning. People were stuck in their basements all over town, and neighbors came out after the tornado and rescued them. But the water towers are gone. The town is just destroyed.

ELLIOTT: We've heard emergency officials report that this is the most significant emergency the state of Kansas has witnessed in a very long time. What were people telling you, the survivors there at the shelter? What were they describing happened?

MORRIS: They all described having plenty of warning, getting kids home to their parents and going around and collecting their elderly neighbors, their friends who didn't have basements and getting into shelter. Everyone that I spoke with told a story like that.

And then, they talked about heavy, heavy hale - hale that broke windows - and then just an amazing cacophony of splintering wood and breaking glass. Everyone's ears were popping violently. And that ended, and torrential rains fell into their basements, because their houses weren't there anymore. Many of the people I spoke with crawled out over debris to find that their houses were gone.

ELLIOTT: We understand the rescue activities are still underway today. What do you know about that?

MORRIS: All I know is that they're expecting that it's going to take a while to sift through the rubble because of the devastation here. You know, you're talking about places that looked like they were put in a blended and put on high and then, spitted out across the town. Every - of people has other people's freezers blocking their basement steps. I mean, it's just - this tornado was extremely violent, and it's going to take a while to make sure that everyone's accounted for.

ELLIOTT: Frank Morris of member station of KCUR. Thank you for talking with us.

MORRIS: Thank you.

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