One Month After the Joplin Tornado: Disaster ...July 10, 2011

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — For residents in Jasper and Newton counties, including the City of Joplin, Missouri, May 22, 2011 brought about life-changing events as an EF 5 tornado pummeled through communities claiming lives and devastating homes, businesses and critical infrastructure.

One month later, state and federal disaster assistance has reached nearly $14 million for residents and businesses in the two counties, helping to meet temporary housing and other needs caused by the disaster.

As of today, 30 days after the Joplin tornado disaster, more than 600 federal and state employees from across the country are working to meet the needs of more than 9,000 Jasper and Newton disaster survivors who have registered for assistance.

A critical recovery mission, the removal of debris, continues in full force through the close collaboration between local, state and federal agencies. To date, more than 650,000 cubic yards of debris has been removed from the Joplin area.

“FEMA is only part of the Missouri disaster recovery team,” explained Libby Turner, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “The coordinated efforts between federal, state, local, non-profit, private sector and faith-based organizations have provided a broad network for survivors to get the critical information, resources and disaster assistance they need most, and in a timely fashion.”

Over the course of the week following the May 22 disaster, a multitude of volunteer resources, agencies and personnel sprung into action. Together with local and community officials, the City of Joplin, the State of Missouri, the Missouri Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), the Governor’s Faith-based and Community Service Partnership for Disaster Recovery and FEMA worked to coordinate the assembly and movement of critical emergency supplies, medical aid and disaster relief.

Volunteer efforts included the opening of operation of 6 shelters, 120 Points of Distribution, and a Volunteer Reception Center managed by members of AmeriCorps, which has processed more than 32,000 volunteers. In just a month’s time, volunteers have worked over 190,000 hours. Disaster recovery volunteers have also included players, coaches and staff from the NFL St. Louis Rams, who helped with cleanup efforts in Joplin. The team also recorded public service announcements with FEMA to promote community preparedness and encourage survivors to apply for assistance at 1-800-621-FEMA.