By Jeronima Nix
Last night a half mile long tornado hit the city of Joplin, Missouri. The town had about a twenty minute warning before the tornado struck said Mitch Randles from the Joplin Fire Department during a news conference. Whole blocks were cleared of any houses and any houses left were left crushed by trees. Eighty-nine people were confirmed dead, with hundreds injured. As rescue teams are deployed, the total of casualties is said to rise. A Red Cross worker says that the tornado hurled debris as far as seventy miles away. The high school, the hospital, a couple of fire stations, and a strip mall were all left in pieces.
Hospitals and schools were completely destroyed. CNN stated that health records from one of the hospitals were found miles away. St. John’s Regional Medical Center was hit directly and suffered significant damage. The hospital was treating 183 people when the storm struck. It was unclear if any were injured in the storm. The patients were taken to hospitals as far away as Springfield, Missouri, and northwest Arkansas.
Zach Tusinger, twenty-six, an attorney in Joplin, lost his aunt and uncle in the tornado. They lived five blocks from St. John’s Hospital. “Everybody’s going to know people who are dead,” he says. “You could have probably dropped a nuclear bomb on the town and I don’t think it would have done near as much damage as it did.”
Governor Jay Nixon called in one hundred forty National Guard Troops and state officials to help assess and rescue people from the damage. The critical issue with rescuing is the fact that all electricity in Joplin is gone. There is barely any contact to and from the city. Although there is small hope for the city, one thousand law enforcement officers from forty different agencies in four states are aiding in the disaster response.
As the hours tick away officials are scrambling to assess the situation as quickly as possible to ensure no one is missed and lives are saved. More news on the city will be reported as Joplin continues to pick up the pieces left after the devastation. To see videos of people’s reactions at the time of the tornado you can go to http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/23/liveblog-tornado-destroys-most-of-joplin-missouri/?hpt=T1&iref=BN1.