The death toll from last May's tornado that tore through Joplin, Missouri rose to above 160, and a local volunteer with the American Red Cross was on the ground in the days following the disaster to lend a hand. Now, nearly 8 months later, she looks back and shares what she sees as necessary precautions we all should take in case a tornado or any other natural disaster hits the Riverbend.

Ruth Meyer, a member of the Red Cross’s Disaster Services Human Resources System skilled in mental health counseling, was on her first assignment as a Disaster Mental Health Service Associate. She says as people looked through the rubble for lost relatives, friends or belongings, many would need the most basic of supplies- fresh water, clean clothes, and batteries for their transistor radios.

Meyer comments


She says one thing that stuck out in her mind was the fact that no looting was reported while she was there, but that story did not make the national news. The F-5 tornado produced 200-mile per hour winds, which cut a mile wide a path of destruction. Eight-thousand structures in Joplin suffered damage.