28 May 2011

Joplin tornado death toll rises

9:17 am on 28 May 2011

The death toll from one of the worst tornadoes to hit the United States has risen to 132.

The number of people still listed as missing in the city of Joplin, Missouri, is now 156.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety earlier published a list of 232 persons unaccounted for and discovered that 90 people on the list were in fact alive.

Officials said on Friday that many of the missing were likely to be among the dead, but a full accounting is impossible until next of kin are notified.

The tornado wrecked a third of the city last Sunday, making it one of the most destructive in US history. Residents had 20 minutes warning.

The St John regional hospital took a direct hit.

Another series of tornadoes struck Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas on Tuesday and Wednesday, killing at least 16 people.

The BBC reports tornadoes and storms killed at least 350 people in Alabama and six other southern states last month.