- (Photo: Reuters / Eric Thayer)
Joplin, Mo., officials reported that 232 people remain missing since Sunday's tornado.
Four days after the southwestern Missouri city was pulverized by the deadliest twister in more than six decades, emergency workers and relief groups continue to search for the many who are still unaccounted for.
Just after city officials released the latest missing persons number on Thursday, a number of them were found alive and safe. According to The Associated Press, at least a dozen of the 232 listed as missing were found to be fine but just hadn't been able to contact friends or family.
Families still waiting for news about their loved ones can only hope as much.
"Following the Governor’s orders, we have assigned additional investigators to take and investigate official reports, to field calls, and to help locate each and every one of these individuals,” said DPS Deputy Director Andrea Spillars, according to Missouri Net.
“Just as all necessary resources were devoted to search and rescue efforts in the tornado’s immediate aftermath, this critical mission will have all the personnel necessary to get information to anxious families, friends and loved ones. Locating these unaccounted-for individuals is a critical priority for our department.”
So far, officials have confirmed 126 deaths after the EF-5 (the strongest rating assigned to tornadoes) storm cut through Joplin and left communities unrecognizable. It was the eighth deadliest tornado in U.S. history.
The Salvation Army has partnered with retail giants to get aid to the thousands affected. Wal-Mart has committed $150,000 along with essential supplies to the Christian group to assist in relief efforts. Target has also pitched in with $150,000.
And at a local level, Papa John's and Pizza Hut have offered their assistance by donating pizzas to Salvation Army canteens and other locations serving survivors. Sprint, meanwhile, provided cell phones to keep communications open.
"Throughout the year, The Salvation Army is blessed to work with a number of corporate partners who support our mission and service. The commitment of these organizations is never more appreciated than during times of struggle and disaster, such as the recent tornadoes in the Central U.S.," The Salvation Army stated.