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Readout of Secretary Napolitano's Visit to Joplin, Missouri

Release Date: 
June 9, 2011

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

JOPLIN, Mo—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today joined Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in Joplin, Mo., to survey the ongoing recovery and response efforts on the ground following the tornadoes and severe weather that devastated the region last month and meet with state, local and community partners to reiterate the Obama administration's continued commitment to assisting the long-term recovery efforts of communities affected by recent severe weather.

"The Obama administration remains dedicated to helping Joplin and communities throughout Missouri as we work together in our recovery efforts to become stronger and more resilient than ever before," said Secretary Napolitano. "We will not leave until the job is finished, and we will continue to support our team of federal, state, local and community partners that are working tirelessly to help the people of Missouri rebuild their communities."

"In the wake of this natural disaster, Missourians have come together with a spirit of faith, resilience and resolve," said Governor Nixon. "We clearly saw that spirit in the professionals from more than 400 public safety organizations from across our state and throughout the country responded to the call for help, and that spirit has continued with thousands of volunteers who have traveled to Joplin to help those in need. Once again, the toughest of times have brought out the best spirit of the people and professionals of the Show-Me State."

Secretary Napolitano joined Governor Nixon and Congressman Billy Long to tour the area affected by the deadly tornado that touched down in Joplin on May 22, 2011. During their tour, Secretary Napolitano, Governor Nixon and Congressman Long met with hospital leadership at the temporary medical facility at St. John's Mercy Hospital, which was created after the tornado caused significant destruction to the hospital.

After surveying the damage, Secretary Napolitano met with state and local leaders, state police officials and members of the National Guard to discuss recovery efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved nearly $20 million in assistance to individuals and households across the state, with over $11 million approved for Jasper and Newton Counties.

Since the storms first hit Joplin, the Obama administration has been deeply involved in response and recovery efforts. On May 26, DHS Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute traveled to Joplin to meet with state and local officials and first responders on the ground and on May 29, President Obama visited the area to survey the damage and discuss response and relief efforts with first responders, and to participate in a Community Memorial Service with Governor Nixon and local clergy. Additionally, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino were on the ground in Joplin the day after the tornadoes struck, and other senior DHS officials traveled to the Joplin area immediately following the devastating tornadoes—working on behalf of President Obama and Secretary Napolitano to coordinate the ongoing federal disaster response.

Families and individuals that have been impacted by the tornadoes and storms and need assistance have several options for getting help:

  • Registering online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov,
  • Registering through a web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or
  • Calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
  • Visiting the State of Missouri Resource, Recovery & Rebuilding Center, open from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. and located in the Joplin Plaza Shopping Center at 705 Illinois Avenue in Joplin. The center's toll-free number is (855)956-7546.

For more information, please visit www.fema.gov.

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