Agencies stepping up efforts to help Joplin homeless
The death toll from Sunday’s massive tornado that ripped the heart out of Joplin on Sunday stands at 125, with nine people rescued alive from the rubble in the days after the storm.
Mark Rohr, Joplin city manager, said 600 searchers and 60 teams of dogs have combed the tornado ravaged wreckage of thousands of homes and businesses at least four times and will go over that wreckage several more times before calling off the search.
In the meantime, Rohr said city officials, FEMA and several other federal, state and local agencies and people looking at ways to help the thousands of residents left homeless by the EF5 twister.
“The city of Joplin is working with FEMA and federal, state and local officials on temporary solutions for displaced Joplin residents while their homes are being rebuilt,” Rohr told the media in his daily press conference on Wednesday. “Our educational partner, the Joplin R-8 schools, have begun their preparations to start the 2011-12 school year in the fall as they would during normal circumstances. This is a noble effort on their part because they recognize that schools provide stability and continuity in our daily lives while providing a resource for our children to gather in their education and social activities.”
Rohr also announced that St. John’s Regional Medical Center managers had committed to rebuilding the hospital that was ravaged by 200-mile-per-hour winds.
He said structural engineers still had to determine whether the existing building could be repaired or whether it would need to be replaced.
Rohr announced that a permitting system to control the number of people going in and out of the damaged area of Joplin, that had been announced on Tuesday, was being abandoned as too cumbersome.
“That does not mean that the police are not going to be present to provide security and protect the properties that have been storm damaged,” Rohr said. “It just means we are not using the permitting process.”