On Sunday, a tornado cut a nearly half-mile-wide path through six miles of Joplin, Mo., killing at least 89 people and heavily damaging 2,000 buildings. One of the hardest-hit locations was one of the city's hospitals, St. John's Medical Center, where the tornado directly hit the center, blew out its windows, and severely damaged the building.
According to the Joplin Globe, Associated Press, and CNN, rescue teams are sorting through the rubble and trying to avoid fires sparked by broken natural-gas lines. Missouri Gov. Nixon has declared a state of emergency and dispatched 100 National Guard troops to the the residential and commercial areas most affected by the twister. In a quote to AP, the principal of the now flattened Joplin High School appraised the damage in unequivocal terms:
"You see pictures of World War II, the devastation and all that with the bombing. That's really what it looked like.... I couldn't even make out the side of the building. It was total devastation in my view. I just couldn't believe what I saw."
A Sunday-night shot from a Reuters photographer of a damaged home in a severely hit neighborhood:
Residents survey the aftermath:
The parking lot of St. John's Medical Center:
The heavily damaged Academy Sports Building: