Thursday, June 2, 2011
The effort to assist tornado-ravaged Joplin has been commendable on every level — from individuals and communities, from organizations and businesses, from state and federal governments.
The devastating tornadoes on May 22 killed more than 130 people and reduced homes and businesses to rubble in nearly one-third of the city of 50,000 residents.
The outpouring of effort and contributions has been exceptional, extending from friends and neighbors to Gov. Jay Nixon to President Barack Obama.
Housing displaced residents and removing tons of debris are among the current priorities.
The governor announced Wednesday the federal government will pay 90 percent of the cost to expedite debris removal.
The removal process will be led by the Missouri National Guard, which has been working around the clock in response to the natural disaster.
Other state initiatives abound, including an executive order to waive fees to replace lost driver’s licenses and other state-issues documents, as well as a waiver of camping fees at state parks for displaced Joplin residents.
The continued collections and contributions are tremendous, but we encourage people to remember two things.
First, use established, authorized channels which speed delivery and match money and materials with those in need.
Second, the rebuilding effort will continue long after the destruction fades from the news. Let us not forget ongoing needs.
Finally, we urge people to avoid traveling to Joplin simply to look at the destruction.
Infrastructure is damaged, leaving limited avenues for necessary supplies to be delivered and debris to be removed.
Unnecessary traffic is not only undesirable, it is an impediment. Don’t obstruct restoration to entertain curiosity.
The natural disaster in Joplin continues to elicit the best in people. Let generosity, benevolence and compassion form the foundation on which the community is rebuilt.