Joplin, Missouri Tornado



AmeriCorps Responds

You and your crew have done an exceptional job. Thank you for not only your hard work, but that of all the different AmeriCorps groups that have come to Joplin to help us in our time of need. It is through your efforts that we are more rapidly able to recover from the devastation left in the wake of the May 22nd tornado. You and your volunteers should be proud of what you have helped us accomplish in such a short period of time.
— Chris Cotten, Director, Joplin Parks & Recreation

At 5:41 pm on Sunday, May 22, 2011, an EF5 tornado, of winds greater than 200 mph, tore a path through the heart of Joplin, Missouri. A huge portion of the city was flattened by the destructive storm, causing an estimated one to three billion dollars in damage and claiming 161 lives.

Within two hours of the the tornado touching down, the Emergency Response Team began to mobilize for deployment to the city of Joplin. By 9:30 pm on the day of the storm, the Team was already on their way to Joplin. The Team arrived in Joplin at around 2:30 in the morning and got started right away, preparing to receive the thousands of volunteers expected that morning, aiding in search and rescue, and initiating a call center for missing persons.



Joplin, MO Tornado - One Year Later

Since March, 2012, AmeriCorps St. Louis has mobilized 72,504 volunteers, tracked 494,146 volunteer hours, registered 2,176 volunteer groups, assisted in 2,810 homeowner requests for assistance, and completed 2,287 of those homeowner requests. 

Under the coordination of AmeriCorps St. Louis, over 200 national service members have been engaged in the response and recovery activities in 2012, which include:

  • Setting up and managing a Volunteer Reception Center at the Missouri Southern State University campus
  • Providing homeowner assistance and casework
  • Recruiting, facilitating and engaging tens of thousands of volunteers in a myriad of service opportunities
  • Serving the City of Joplin by creating databases to track volunteer registrations and hours to meet FEMA's required local match
  • Supporting the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Joplin Police Department with missing person inquiries
  • Operating donation and distribution warehouses
  • Coordinating donations in conjunction with the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency
  • Support for the Missouri Humane Society