Tornado Hits Missouri Town, Dozens Feared Dead

A powerful tornado hit Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, killing at least 89 people and leaving much of the town in rubble, the Los Angeles Times said in a report.

The tornado flattened buildings, houses, schools, while many trees were also uprooted, Councilwoman Melodee Colbert-Kean toldĀ Reuters in a telephone interview. One of the severely damaged buildings was St. John’s Regional Medical Center, where several patients were reportedly hurt when the twister struck.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon immediately ordered the National Guard to join forces with rescue workers in a bid to reach survivors on time, even as the local police department started counting bodies hours after the twister slammed into the town of 50,000. “(It’s) devastating loss of life, horrible, and it goes on for miles,” Joplin police Sergeant Bob Higginbotham said. Keith Stammer of the Emergency Management agency for Jasper County, where Joplin is located, said that it could take long before the real extent of the damage is known. “We have to go through every building, every house. It’s going to take a long time,” he said. Gov. Nixon told CNN that rescue efforts are focused on reaching survivors before Monday morning. “We are responding aggressively, quickly. We want to make sure as the night goes on that we’re saving lives between now and dawn,” Nixon said.