COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Two months after the devastating EF-5 tornado ripped through the peaceful city of Joplin, disaster recovery efforts remain in full swing. State and federal disaster assistance has increased $26 million this month, totaling over $41 million for residents and businesses in the counties of Jasper and Newton.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is only part of a large team that continues to bring resources to assist a community in its response and recovery efforts. This team includes coordinated efforts between federal, state, local, non-profit, private sector and faith-based organizations.
"It takes many agencies, government and private, as well as many individuals, to help a community and its citizens recover from a disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner. "Missourians have demonstrated from day one that they are ready to do whatever it takes to help one another not only survive the Joplin tornado but to thrive over the long run."
As of today, 60 days after the Joplin tornado disaster, more than 690 federal and state employees from across the country are working to meet the needs of more than 10,200 Jasper and Newton disaster survivors who have registered for assistance. This number is expected to increase before the July 29, 2011 registration deadline. Additionally, federal and state specialists continue to provide assistance to local governmental entities that suffered extensive damages to their infrastructure facilities.
A critical recovery mission, the removal of debris, continues in full force through the close collaboration between local, state and federal agencies. During the 46 days of debris removal operations managed by the court engineers, nearly 1.3 million cubic yards -- 68 percent -- of debris has been removed from the Joplin area, at an average rate of 27,684 cubic yards per day. This number does not include debris removal by private contractors, individual property owners and volunteers. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has collected more than 95,000 items of household hazardous waste, white goods and electronic equipment from the Joplin tornado debris.
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 continues to work to coordinate the assembly and movement of critical emergency supplies, medical aid and disaster relief.
Volunteer efforts have included the opening and operation of two shelters managed by the American Red Cross and a Volunteer Reception Center managed by members of AmeriCorps, which has processed more than 45,000 volunteers. In just two month's time, volunteers have worked more than 301,000 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 disaster assistance at 1-800-621-FEMA.
Another community partner, the Missouri Humane Society, helped create and run a shelter that allowed survivors to identify their pets and provided accommodations for the pets whose owners had no place to keep them. To date, more than 500 pets have been reunited with their human companions, thanks to the efforts of the Joplin Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). These two organizations sheltered more than 1,300 animals through June 25-26, 2011, when a two...