Use this map of before-and-after aerial imagery to explore damage from the recent Oklahoma tornado — one of the most destructive storms ever recorded.
Brian Hock was standing Wednesday evening in what used to be his home but is now 2,000 square feet of nothing. The cup he uses to scoop out kibble is still resting in the bag, emblazoned with the slogan, "Fear not: God's love shines bright."
Hock was at work Monday when the tornado smashed his house in the Heather Wood subdivision of Moore, Okla. He says his daughters survived only because neighbors invited them to share a custom shelter.
Several residents in the neighborhood along SE 4th Street have similar stories. Their section of Heather Wood was built about 11 years ago. It will all have to be rebuilt now.
Some walls remain standing, but many houses have been destroyed. At one house, a crushed pickup truck is all that's keeping a garage roof from collapsing completely to the ground.
At another, people passing by along the street can see into the remains of a living room, where a brown couch faces a flat-screen TV that's caked with dust but still hanging on the wall.
Many houses are now simply unrecognizable piles of debris.
Matt Claxton said he thought his neighbor Stan might have been kidding when he emerged from his shelter and announced, "My truck is upside down on top of my neighbor's house." But the pickup truck is still there.
National Guardsmen and police arrived in the area about 15 minutes after the storm hit, Claxton says. Not long after, someone heard the voices of an older couple trapped in their house up the block. Everyone dropped what they were doing to run and help, he says, estimating that 20 people began pulling away rubble.
Along with Hoch and a few other residents, Claxton put on heavy work gloves Wednesday night to start carting away piles of debris. Neighbors cautioned one another to watch out for the nails that seemed to be sticking up from pieces of wood everywhere you looked.
Claxton's brick home is a total loss. He points to a corner of bare foundation where he used to keep a desk and pay his bills. A native of the area, he's not sure he'll rebuild on the same lot.
Still, Claxton says he feels lucky. He and his wife rode out the storm along with their two dogs.
"It's just stuff," he says. "The memories are in our heads and in our hearts."
Below, please submit your comments on NPR's map of the damage from the tornado that tore through Moore, Okla., on May 20.
As Myanmar's leaders push a series of political and economic changes, they are also having to deal with recent strife between the majority Buddhists and minority Muslims, or Rohingya.
Many countries making the transition from authoritarian rule to democracy have faced similar ethnic and sectarian conflicts, from Iraq to the former Yugoslavia.
But for Myanmar, perhaps the most compelling case study is also the closest.
Fifteen years ago this week, a deepening economic crisis and weeks of political unrest in Indonesia forced military dictator Suharto to resign after 30 years in power.
In the months and years that followed, sectarian and ethnic violence raged across the Muslim-majority Indonesian archipelago. Race riots against ethnic Chinese erupted in Jakarta. Ethnic Dayaks fought with Madurese settlers on the island of Borneo. And Muslim jihadis battled Christians in the Maluku Islands. Some feared the country would disintegrate.
But now, Indonesia is widely seen as a vibrant democracy that also has Southeast Asia's largest economy. It seems as if the country got some things right that may also provide lessons for Myanmar as it attempts its own transformation.
A Nation-Building Bandwagon
Indonesia started off on the right foot by uniting the country's diverse peoples in its anti-colonial revolution against the Netherlands, according to University of Toronto political scientist Jacques Bertrand.
"The Indonesian nationalist movement, or the fight against the Dutch, really rallied groups from all the archipelago," Bertrand says. "Whoever was within the territory of the [former] Dutch Indies ... they sort of hopped on the bandwagon of the idea of creating a new state."
In Myanmar, or what was then known as Burma, the independence movement against the Japanese, and later the British, was mostly an enterprise of the Burman majority. The British had used divide-and-rule tactics successfully and cultivated Christian minorities such as the Karen as a hedge against the Burmans.
Myanmar not only lacks an inclusive narrative of nation building, Bertrand says, but it has yet to come up with a formula — such as federalism — under which minorities could join the union. As a result, large parts of Myanmar's border regions remain under rebel control.
Separation Between Military And State
Indonesia was also successful in getting military men to relinquish their posts in government. It shut down military businesses and separated the police force from the military.
The growth of democratic institutions accelerated the military's "return to the barracks." A freer press amplified public demands for better governance and accountability. The government lifted restrictions on political parties, and 48 parties contested elections in 1999, the year after Suharto stepped down. Election turnout has been high at about 80 percent, and instances of violence and vote-rigging have been low.
The process remains unfinished, according to some. Military rulers have not been held to account for past abuses. Notably, both Myanmar's and Indonesia's presidents are former army officers.
Myanmar's military retains sweeping emergency powers and extensive control over state budgets. The constitution reserves one-quarter of parliamentary seats for the military, which retains control over vital sectors of the economy, such as energy and international trade.
Also, the military has been slow to stop sectarian violence and quick to quash public protests. Burma's military has also continued offensives against ethnic Kachin insurgents despite President Thein Sein's unilateral declaration of a cease-fire. The president's ministers say he is fully in control of the military. But Myanmar's commander in chief, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, says the military intends to hang on to its leading role in national politics.
About the time of Suharto's fall, an Asian financial crisis hit, triggered by the collapse of neighboring Thailand's currency. This also hit Indonesia, which was faced by demands for local autonomy, Jakarta responded by devolving authority over nearly half of government spending to local governments.
After a quarter-century-long insurgency in westernmost Aceh province, Jakarta made it a special administrative region with the power to legislate Shariah, or Islamic law. It has had less success with West Papua province, where a low-level insurgency still simmers.
Myanmar must address the autonomy issue to end ongoing insurgencies, which are being fought in part for control of resources, including jade, timber and hydropower, and foreign investment in these resources.
These economic issues are often overlooked when ethnic or sectarian violence flares. The University of Toronto's Bertrand points out that the crumbling of authoritarian regimes commonly produces a sense of uncertainty about the future, in which different groups tend to jockey, often violently, for a stronger relative position under the new order.
Religion In The State
At its independence, Indonesia faced a choice of whether to become an Islamic or secular state. It chose secular nationalism, and suppressed radical Islamists who resisted by force. Indonesia's Islamist political parties' share of the vote in two elections over the past decade has dropped from 38 percent to 25 percent. Of course, problems remain, notably Sunni extremist groups' persecution of Shiite and Ahmadiyya minority sects.
Myanmar, on the other hand, has used Buddhism more to explicitly bolster its legitimacy than the Indonesian regime has used Islam, says Melissa Crouch, a legal scholar at the National University of Singapore.
The junta followed in the footsteps of its precolonial predecessors, awarding monastic titles, building temples and publicly lavishing money on monks to get their karmic seal of approval. Crouch says there is now talk in Myanmar of amending the constitution to include references to "the special position" of Buddhism in Myanmar.
It's hardly a shock that Myanmar is seen as lagging behind Indonesia. After all, it began its democratic reforms just over two years ago.
What's most lacking to many observers is a clear commitment by Myanmar's government to full civilian rule, equality for minorities and democratic rights for the majority. Without these, the reforms will continue to appear tentative and reversible.
Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who helped rescue three young women from a Cleveland home where authorities say they had been held captive and brutalized for about a decade, "will enjoy free burgers for life" in honor of his actions, The Plain Dealer reports.
Ramsey gained instant fame for his animated account of what happened on May 6 after he heard victim Amanda Berry calling for help from inside a home in his neighborhood. With Ramsey's help, Berry and her 6-year-old daughter were able to get out. Minutes later, police were able to rescue the other two young women who had been inside — Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight.
Ramsey became something of legend for saying "I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran to a black man's arms."
He also told reporters about how he had been been eating a Big Mac when he heard Berry's shouts. That inspired the restaurant where he's a dishwasher to create the Ramsey Burger. And now, according to the Plain Dealer, "more than a dozen Northeast Ohio restaurants have pledged an offer of a burger anytime Ramsey wants to stop by and dig in."
He's going to be given a "Chuck Card" that he can use at the restaurants. According to the Plain Dealer:
"Ramsey, who has been traveling during a paid leave from his job at Hodges [restaurant], was not available for comment. The Chuck Card will be formally presented to him when he returns to Cleveland."