Days Later Joplin Begins Rebuilding

Days Later Joplin Begins Rebuilding

The town of Joplin, Missouri is not going to let those tornadoes that touched down last week and killed 135 people keep the city down.  Just over a week later, crews have moved in to start rebuilding their beloved town.  Small businesses have opened in tents and the residents themselves are cleaning up and trying to get back to normal.

The cleanup is going to take a lot of work to say the least.  The tornado moved right through a 6-mile area of the town, which is home to over 50,000 people.  In fact, the cost of the effort is still only estimated, but experts say it could take months to get back to any semblance of normality.  Potential hazards such as gas leaks and asbestos from older homes may hinder the debris removal process.  Despite all of this, residents are looking ahead and getting ready to move on.

One of the more promising signs of Joplin coming back to life was the reopening of the local Home Depot, which was flattened by the 200+ mph winds that wreaked havoc on the town.  In fact, the tornado is thought to have been an EF-5, one of the strongest.

Despite incurring damage itself, Home Depot employees greeted Joplin residents ready to help.  Though there wasn’t much to choose from at the store, Home Depot officials are promising a 30,000 square foot temporary building that will be open in the next few weeks.  Obviously this and new stock for the store will help greatly with the reconstruction efforts.

In order for residents to move on, it is essential that they have access to the most urgently needed supplies to rebuild such as tarp, nails, plywood, and other items.  These supplies have been set up by store managers on tables in the parking lot and have been made available during these trying times.

More than 8,000 homes and apartments were damaged or completely destroyed, thus displacing thousands of Joplin residents.  This does not include the hundreds upon hundreds of commercial buildings, hospitals, power plants, and schools that were also damaged.  But no matter how long it takes the work has begun.  The town is moving in the right direction, as they need to.

Part of the rebuilding effort will involve trucking rubble and debris to the landfills nearby.  One is located in Lamar while two others are located in Kansas.  At this time, it is estimated that the cost of the entire effort will be in the ballpark of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Officials have announced that the federal government has also moved into the cleanup efforts.  The Fed will pay an estimated 90% of the cleanup, just as it promised to do in Alabama in April.

Jon Huser