It has been two months since an E-F5 tornado destroyed approximately 30% of the city of Joplin, Missouri. In the last month, the death toll has, sadly, risen to 160 as one more victim died in an area hospital. The city of Joplin took a major step forward in the rebuilding process this week, however, when the city announced it was going to begin issuing building permits. After the tornado, the issuance of building permits was put on hold for private property in many residential areas until the cleanup efforts reached a substantial phase. The Joplin Globe reported this week that 80% of the debris has now been removed. This is due to the extraordinary efforts of the Corps of Engineers and thousands of volunteers who have put in countless hours over the past two months. There are still a few issues to be worked out, the most pressing at the moment being how to handle the upcoming school year since several of the elementary schools and high school were destroyed.
Friends and family have told me that the transformation in Joplin over the past two months has been unbelievable. As the rebuilding process moves forward, the citizens continue to work together. Joplin is well on its way to recovery.