What Does The Recovery In Joplin Look Like?
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
The 49,000 residents of Joplin, Missouri, had just a few minutes to seek cover before a massive tornado struck yesterday. One group of about 20 sought cover at a Fast Trip convenience store. Among them, 23-year-old Isaac Duncan(ph); using his phone, he recorded what happened next.
(SOUNDBITE OF STORM)
SIEGEL: Duncan, along with the others, crowded into the store's walk-in refrigerator and there, they waited for the worst.
(SOUNDBITE OF STORM)
SIEGEL: Earlier I spoke with reporter Frank Morris in Joplin about what he found there today.
FRANK MORRIS: But then, when you get into the part where the tornado really hit, it looks like it's just ground up in a meat grinder and spit across the surface of the earth here.
SIEGEL: And how much time, actually, did people have? How much warning did they have before the tornado struck?
MORRIS: A lot of people here in this neighborhood that was very, very hard hit do not have basements. This was a neighborhood built probably in the '60s. People weathered the storm in their bathrooms, in bathtubs and, you know, a number of them didn't make it. Although a lot of people, not among the dead who are in critical condition, farmed out to hospitals all around this area.
SIEGEL: Is this still a rescue operation? That is, do people assume there might be survivors buried under the debris who still could be saved?
MORRIS: Yes, that is the assumption. They are still looking for survivors. Some of the houses - not all of the houses have been searched with dogs because this is a very - this is a wide swath of devastation here. And I think there is still some hope that they might find somebody in one of the houses. They have pulled people out of very tight corners, I'm told, so there's still some hope that there might be some more survivors found. They're not yet just looking for the bodies, although they're searching for them as well.
SIEGEL: And I would assume residents are looking for their possessions that they lost in the tornado. What are you hearing from folks there?
MORRIS: And, again, these houses, a lot of them, Robert, are just completely destroyed. The rubble and the splinters, the slurry of mud and glass and nails and twisted metal, it's everywhere. It's not just that the houses are destroyed. It's that the houses were destroyed and churned up and splintered and spit out everywhere. And there's not a square inch of ground that you can look at that isn't embedded with the fragments of people's lives.
SIEGEL: Thank you, Frank.
MORRIS: Thank you, Robert.
SIEGEL: That's reporter Frank Morris, speaking to us from Joplin, Missouri.
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