Within blocks of where search and rescue personnel comb through piles of rubble that was once a grocery store, children work side-by-side with their parents sifting through the remains of their homes. Overhead, lightning cuts the dark gray sky, thunder claps and pelting rain falls.
The bad weather on Monday only added to the woes of the residents of Joplin, Mo., as they tried to piece their lives back together after a Sunday evening EF4 tornado cut a nearly mile-wide swath through town that extended several miles.
“Thousands of survivors in Joplin are hurting today,” says Hal Donaldson, president of Convoy of Hope. “Some have lost loved ones; thousands have lost their homes, possessions and businesses. It’s heartbreaking, but it also provides an opportunity for the nation to come alongside the residents of Joplin to give them hope.”
Yesterday, Convoy of Hope dispatched truckloads of food, water and other emergency relief supplies to Joplin. After off-loading the food and supplies at Missouri Southern State University, which is a distribution point for several agencies, Convoy of Hope teams fanned out through the community to do assessments.
Today, a mobile distribution site with Faith Assembly of God — which was nearly destroyed during the tornado — will be up and running. From the church, teams of volunteers will distribute ice, water, energy drinks and food to families.
Team members are also coordinating with government agencies and other disaster relief organizations to maximize the efficiency of the response to meet as many needs as possible.