Obama to visit tornado-ravaged Joplin as dozens remain missing

May 29, 2011

(CNN) — For the third time in a month, President Barack Obama on Sunday plans to visit a community savaged by a terrible act of nature, comfort survivors who’ve lost everything and talk with local leaders about rebuilding.

This time, Obama is scheduled to visit Joplin, Missouri. A week ago, a twister packing winds of more than 200 mph ripped through the town, destroying neighborhoods and killing more people than any other U.S. tornado since modern record-keeping began in 1950.

Early Sunday morning, Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr told CNN the death toll was 142. State authorities have released the names of 73 victims. More than 90 people are missing.

The list includes 1-year-old Hayze Howard, the youngest identified victim, and Nancy E. Douthitt, 94, the oldest, according to the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

The list also includes Will Norton, an 18-year-old whose disappearance during the storm attracted national attention. The May 22 twister swept Norton out of the arms of his father as the two drove home from the son’s high school graduation.

Obama’s scheduled visit comes exactly one month after he visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where a tornado of similar force had ripped through the city and killed 41 people.

Two tornado-wracked towns unite through tragedy, charity

And on May 16, the president traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to meet people displaced from their homes by a historic Mississippi River flood.

Along with touring damage sites, Obama is scheduled to join Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at a special memorial service at Missouri Southern State University in honor of those killed and the thousands more affected by the tornado. The president will deliver brief remarks at the service, according to a statement released by the White House.

At 5:41 p.m. Sunday, exactly one week after the EF-5 tornado touched down in Joplin, the city will observe a moment of silence for the victims, including those who have yet to be identified and others that may yet be found.

“We’re still in search-and-rescue mode,” Rohr said Saturday, adding that more than 500 search-and-rescue volunteers were in Joplin on Saturday working.

To read more, visit: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/05/29/missouri.tornado/?hpt=T2



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