Hundreds still missing in tornado-hit Missouri city
More than 200 people remain missing following the powerful tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri this week,...
More than 200 people remain missing following the powerful tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri this week, while local leaders struggled to get the devastated city back on its feet.
There has been rising frustration in Joplin that four days after the tornado some families still could not find out what happened to their loved ones or get access to morgues to identify victims.
Search crews with cadaver dogs were still looking for victims in the miles of rubble left by the tornado that tore through the city on Sunday, but hope was fading for finding survivors.
The official death toll from the tornado stood at 126 people on Thursday, with more than 900 injured, officials said. A series of tornadoes killed another 16 people in three states on Tuesday night.
Andrea Spillars, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, told a news conference that 232 people remain "missing and unaccounted for" in Joplin.
"We will keep a relentless focus on the search, rescue and identification of those 232 people, and we will not rest until everyone has been accounted for, and that number is zero," said Governor Jay Nixon, a Republican.
The city of 50,000 people has been traumatized by the tornado and officials are still struggling to get city services back to normal. Traffic in the city has been at a standstill at times as residents shared the streets with volunteers, media and emergency personnel trying to move around.
One of the people previously unaccounted for was confirmed dead on Thursday. Skyular Logsdon, a 16-month-old boy ripped from his mother's arms during the tornado, was identified by a great aunt who knew him well, the boy's father told Reuters.
The fate of the boy touched the hearts of thousands as his relatives searched hospitals and morgues after finding his clothes wrapped around a telephone pole and his teddy bear nearby.
Tornadoes have killed a total of 504 people in the United States so far this year, making it the deadliest tornado year since 1953, according to the National Weather Service.