A devastating tornado last May in Joplin, Missouri, killed 161 individuals and led to the most significant insurance losses in state history. Local residents and businesses are still feeling the effects, and a recent grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide aid for local disaster recovery planning.
Mercy Health of Joplin received $20 million in federal funds to build a medical center that will replace the former St. John's Regional Medical Center facility, which was destroyed in the storm. An additional $18 million was granted to the Missouri Department of Transportation to repair federal roads and highways, while $24.2 million will be split among local counties, cities and businesses looking to rebuild.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri applauded the federal aid, saying it's a responsibility of the federal government to step in when local administrators are challenged by the effects of a catastrophic storm.
"When a disaster surpasses the ability of states and communities to rebuild, I believe the federal government should prioritize spending to help the people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted," Blunt said in a statement. "These grants will go a long way in assisting Missourians."
The incident proved to be a challenge to Missouri's continuity of operations plan, as the tornado's direct trajectory landed a devastating blow to Joplin's most densely populated areas. It may also have served as a warning to municipalities around the country that had not recently reviewed their own continuity of operations plan.
Developing and analyzing this plan with the help of a dedicated consultant can help cities and counties rebound as quickly as possible from similar natural disasters.