Three weeks after the tornado storm hit Alabama, a multi-vortex super tornado featuring winds in excess of 200mph, and described by some as sounding like a jet engine, followed by a train, struck the Midwestern city of Joplin, Missouri, carving out a 13-mile long pathway of destruction.
One-third of the city was flattened, 7,600 structures destroyed, and 161 of its residents were killed. Two-hours after the EF5 tornado struck, GENEVIEVE AND REBECCA WILLIAMS, a mother and daughter duo of self-proclaimed hillbillies, sprang to action and launched the award-winning Joplin Tornado Info (JTI) Facebook page.
Within 48-hours, JTI had attracted over 47,000 followers, providing verifiable information for and about the Joplin area from the search and rescue phase and continues to be a trusted resource for volunteers, victims, their families, and local businesses during the recovery phase.
Since the tornado, over $39 million in contributions and pledges have been received by organizations and people providing front-line assistance to victims and those planning the City’s comeback.
Despite this tragedy, Joplin is recovering and rebuilding at an impressive pace, but unlike Tuscaloosa, sustainability has not been a major consideration in the rebuilding efforts.