Federal partners continue to support Joplin tornado recovery

Recovery from any disaster is a team effort and a disaster the size of the one in Joplin, Mo. requires all hands on deck.

Federal, state, and local agencies, numerous faith-based and voluntary organizations, and people from all walks of life have joined with The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The combined efforts to help Joplin recover after an EF5 tornado tore through the city more than three weeks ago. To date, 36 recovery missions have been assigned to 17 federal agencies with anticipated costs of $250 million.

“FEMA is only part of a large team that can bring resources to assist a community in its response and recovery efforts,” explained Libby Turner, Federal Coordinating Officer for the disaster. “These other agencies are able to take on a variety of missions which will supplement state and local efforts to assist the community move forward,” she added.

One of the largest recovery missions reside with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for Expedited Debris Removal, where extensive and catastrophic damage exist, and providing critical temporary facilities. In total, USACE currently has nine mission assignments.

  • To date 482,187 cubic yards of debris have been removed to two landfills in Kansas and Missouri.
  • The Corps continues to work with city and school officials to identify and design critical facilities for schools, Saint John’s Hospital, and first responders.

Another key assignment, the removal of household hazardous waste, falls on the shoulders of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • They are tasked with the removal of “white goods” (major appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washers and dryers), and electrical goods.
  • To date 36,483 containers of household hazardous waste have been removed from Joplin.
  • EPA is staffing a public drop-off facility daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the former Lone Elm Wastewater Treatment Plant, 2310 North Lone Elm Road, for residents who wish to bring in items for safe and proper disposal.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has been tasked with organizing the volunteer effort in Joplin.

  • AmeriCorps and other volunteer organizations send out nearly 2,000 volunteers each day from the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC).
  • The VRC has registered 23,623 volunteers since the tornado hit Joplin on May 22, 2011.
  • Volunteers have worked 138,512 hours, equal to more than 47 years, in little more than two weeks time.

The following Federal agencies have been assigned disaster recovery missions under FEMA following the Joplin tornado: Department of Agriculture, Corporation for National and Community Service, USACE, Economic Development Administration, Department of Energy, EPA, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Protective Services, General Services Administration, Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Communication System, National Geospatial Agency, and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.