Rescue crews are searching for survivors and victims after a massive tornado devastated the neighborhood of Moore, Oklahoma, tearing up the area and killing 24 people, including 7 children.

Though it was initially reported that at least 51 people had been killed, including 20 children, officials lowered the death toll this morning. 

Read more ¿Qué más?: Oklahoma City monster tornado kills 37, leaves schools & hospitals flattened (VIDEO) (UPDATE)

"We have got good news. The number right now is 24," said Amy Elliot, chief administrative officer at the Oklahoma City's Medical Examiner's office said. According to her, the prior figure of 51 dead may have included some double-reported casualties. Still, she warns the number could change again as a rescuers continue their efforts.

The news comes after two elementary schools took a direct hit from Monday's storm. Emergency officials worked tirelessly to pull as many kids and teachers out of the rubble as possible, despite the massive destruction. "The walls were just pancaked, absolutely flattened and the students were just grouped together," Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb told ABC News.

At least 242 more patients, including 58 children, were taken to the hospital with injuries. Many patients have been treated and discharged while others have been transferred among hospitals. Now, authorities are asking people not involved in search-and-rescue operations to stay off the roads to allow first responders to do their job.

The images and photos captured of the wreckage are unbelievably devastating and thinking of all those families and parents who have lost loved ones and kids is almost too much to bear. When Hurricane Sandy flooded my house and shattered my hometown, I know it felt like I had woken up in the middle of a warzone. And with this tornado being ten times more powerful (and therefore, ten times more damaging), I can only imagine the loss and grief these people must be feeling now.  My prayers go out to all of those affected and I hope their community, like mine, will be able to come out of this tragic ordeal stronger than ever.

Image via YouTube

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Michelle Regalado is a Staff Writer at MamásLatinas. She loves reading, travel, pop culture, and writing about anything and everything.

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