Monday, May 23, 2011

Groups Mobilize to Help Victims of Joplin Tornado

Last night, Joplin, MO was hit by a massive tornado that, at last count, killed 89 people and left thousands more homeless.  Even with the two twisters that ravaged the South/Midwest weeks ago, it is being called the deadliest tornado in the US in more than a half a century.  Relief organizations, which already had their work cut out for them in the last few weeks, are already sending relief to Joplin, according to a new report just published on The NonProfit Times.  Below is an excerpt from that report:

At last report, at least 89 people were killed and thousands are now homeless in what’s being described as the single deadliest tornado in the U.S. in more than a half-century.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told the Associated Press that he fears the death toll from a tornado will increase, but also expects survivors to be pulled from the rubble.

The American Red Cross has set up a website,, where people can report that they are safe, as well as search for people who have registered as being safe.

The Red Cross had a shelter open hours after the tornado struck, with 100 people in it last night and expectations for as many as 150 today, according to Suzy DeFrancis, chief public affairs officer for the Red Cross.

Several Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) are going into neighborhoods to deliver food and water, said DeFrancis, and the organization is pulling more help from operations in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, along with mental health counseling for survivors. Supplies are being drawn from a branch office in Joplin and warehouses in St. Joseph and St. Louis, she said.

Joplin is located in the southwest corner of Missouri, near the borders with Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Michael Spencer, a spokesman for the national Red Cross based in the organization’s Fayetteville, Ark., office, said a shelter was opened last night at Missouri Southern State University, with a capacity for 3,600 people. Many people remain in the area, checking on neighbors to make sure they’re OK, he said. “It’s a very tight-knit community and I’ve heard a lot about neighbors helping neighbors,” said Spencer, adding that people are visiting the shelter for food and water at this point.

Our thoughts certainly go out to all those affected by this latest disaster.

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