Breaking News:

Joplin Tornado Death Toll Rises to 162

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Joplin Globe reports two more people have died because of their injuries suffered when a mammoth EF5 tornado destroyed 30 percent of Joplin, Mo. Dorothy M. Johnston, 91, died Sept. 11 at a nursing home in Carthage nearly four months after the twister. She suffered a brain injury from which Johnston never recovered.

The other victim was Ronnie D. Holloway, 68. He suffered spinal injuries after his house collapsed around him. Jasper County Coroner Rob Chappel claims Holloway's injuries shortened his life by several years.

The official death toll is now 162, which makes the tornado the seventh-worst in the United States. Since official records have been kept since 1950, the Joplin tornado is the single deadliest funnel ever to hit the United States.

The Springfield News-Leader reports insurance claims from the tornado have topped $1 billion as of Sept. 1, making the disaster one of the several billion-dollar weather events in 2011. The news comes at a time when controversy in Congress stems from funding FEMA in order to cover all of the disaster claims across the country.

The Los Angeles Times reports the U.S. Senate passed a $7 billion funding bill for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prevent funding from lapsing. The House has yet to take up the measure as they previously funded a lower-end funding bill.

No matter how you look at the statistics, Missouri has had a rough year. Flooding in the Bootheel region and in northwest Missouri has reduced farming yields. A powerful tornado swept through St. Louis in late April.

Even though these disasters happened months ago, Missouri will need years to recover. Even the direct physical toll on humans has yet to be fully realized as victims are still succumbing to their injuries nearly fourth months after the deadly twister.

How long these communities will take to recover has yet to be known. However, extra funding set aside by Congress will help alleviate the suffering of Missourians sooner rather than later. There shouldn't be any political posturing when human lives are at stake. Any delay in helping those who can't help themselves through no fault of their own is inexcusable.

Although Gov. Jay Nixon has done well and Missouri's representatives in Congress have tried to get more funding for the disasters, other elements of the lawmaking body have claimed they need to work on making further budget cuts before approving additional disaster aid.

The death toll increase is just another example of how Missouri and other states need disaster assistance now instead of later.

William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.

View Comments (0)