Atlanta 5/31/2011 11:27:57 PM
News / People

29 People Remain Missing in Joplin, Missouri

The number of missing in the aftermath of the May 22 tornado in Joplin, Missouri has dropped from 43 to 29, the Missouri Department of Public Safety said Monday. Department director Andrea Spillars said search efforts “will not cease until the number of unaccounted-for individuals is zero.”

Meanwhile, authorities have not yet identified all of the dead. The identification process is slow because authorities are relying on scientific identification instead of bodies being identified by family members. Federal authorities have brought $2 million dollars worth of equipment to help in the process. Joplin officials put the death toll at 142 on Sunday.

President Barack Obama visited the disaster area over the weekend and vowed to help Joplin recover.  "Your country will be with you every step of the way. We're not going anywhere. The cameras may leave, the spotlight may shift, but we will be with you every step of the way until Joplin is restored and this community is back on its feet,” he said.

The tornado, reported to be about 1 mile wide, ripped through central Joplin around 6 p.m. on May 22. The storm had winds of nearly 200 mph. Officials estimate about 30 percent of the city was damaged.


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