Touted to be the deadliest tornado that has struck the United States since 1947, the death toll in Joplin, Missouri continues to rise, with the latest figures at 142. With winds at 200 km/hr, the city was ripped apart by these strong winds last Sunday leaving 900 injured and almost 156 people missing.
With the need of the hour being to find these missing people who might be trapped under debris of homes and offices, almost 600 volunteers and 50 dog teams participated in search and rescue operations to locate victims or survivors. Due to their recent efforts, the number of missing has dropped down to 105, while the death toll has increased by another three people from the last report.
The Missouri State Governor declared Sunday (29 May, 2011) to be an official State Day for Prayer and Remembrance, which will coincide with President Obama’s visit to Joplin to attend a memorial service for the victims. To mark this solemn occasion, Missouri and United States flags will fly at half-mast from government buildings on Sunday while the memorial service will be held at the Taylor Performing Arts Center which is located on the campus of the Missouri Southern State University.
With families of the missing and victims in distress, 19 bodies have been returned to their families yet the truth is that many more remain to be identified in the coming days. In a year where the death toll due to tornados in the United States has reached an all-time high since 1953, the Joplin tornado will be remembered as one of the most destructive tornados to hit the United States in recent times.