The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 27, 2011

Death toll reaches 126

JOPLIN, Mo. — The death toll from Sunday’s tornado climbed to 126 on Thursday as another body was found in the debris. There were no rescues on Thursday.

City Manager Mark Rohr said it is possible that other bodies will be discovered as the removal of debris continues in the days ahead.

On Thursday, the Missouri Department of Public Safety released a list of the missing that contained 232 names. The original list, Rohr said, contained as many as 3,000 names that were provided to the American Red Cross.

Rohr said it is his understanding that the names of the deceased are included on that list. If so, the actual number of missing is closer to 106.

The list is to be updated today to reflect the removal of names by those who call 417-659-6868 to report that they are not missing. Three people informed the Globe on Thursday that their names should not be on that list.

Gov. Jay Nixon told a large gathering of local residents on Thursday at Missouri Southern State University that he has placed the Missouri State Highway Patrol in control of that list and has provided additional resources to account for every individual.

“We will not rest until everyone is accounted for and that list is zero,” he said.

STATE ORDERS

Nixon signed three executive orders Thursday to help those affected by the tornado.

One of them provides relief to Joplin-area residents who have lost their state identification or vehicle ownership documents. Under the order, the Missouri Department of Revenue will issue replacements for valid cards and documents, waiving all fees.

Those documents include driver’s licenses, nondriver’s licenses, certificates of vehicle ownership, license plates and plate registration stickers.

The second order provides emergency protections for the insurance coverage of Joplin-area residents. The order temporarily forbids insurance companies from raising rates or canceling coverage for residents of Jasper and Newton counties.

That order prohibits insurance companies from increasing rates on any policy starting on or after May 22; prohibits insurance companies from terminating coverage for any reason; requires insurance companies to provide copies of policies to consumers at no charge; and, for consumers with prescription drug coverage, requires insurance companies to cover the cost of a prescription, even if the consumer had it filled recently.

The third order directs the Missouri National Guard to coordinate and supervise the cleanup and removal of debris. The order also directs the adjutant general to call into active duty additional military personnel and equipment as necessary to execute and complete the mission.

The guard will work in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local contractors and the city of Joplin. Rohr said there is no estimate yet as to what that debris removal will cost. He said the city will apply for federal funding.

Nixon, making his remarks before a packed house in Taylor Performing Arts Center, said he was bringing every available state resource to Joplin to expedite the recovery effort. .

Among the departments that have established a presence at the university so that local residents can have direct interaction are those connected to insurance, economic development, housing development, health and senior services, natural resources, mental health, social services, revenue, and agriculture.

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