While the devastation by a massive tornado at Joplin is getting much coverage, little has been reported on aid --- financial and other --- from the Missouri city of 50,000, nine days after the twister struck and even after a Sunday visit by President Barack Obama, notes Grumpy Editor.
About 8,000 homes and business are destroyed or damaged.
Many soothing statements and promises from officials are reported, but much concrete information on getting Joplin back on track is missing. Print and broadcast media should ask more questions starting with when and how.
Associated Press quotes President Obama, after touring the smashed area, vowing, “We’re not going to stop ‘til Joplin’s back on its feet.” The New York Times reports Obama declaring, “The cameras may leave. The spotlight may shift. But we will be with you every step of the way until Joplin is restored.”
Nice words. But missing are details on a battleplan pointing the way on how Joplin gets back on its feet and is restored soonest.
Closest to indicating financial help is a Wall Street Journal story last Thursday that mentions the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “opened a mobile disaster recovery center in Joplin on Wednesday to assist tornado-tossed residents with requests for federal aid.”
Unlike hefty grants or billions in foreign aid, however, is that filling out FEMA paper work may lead to low-interest loans up to $200,000 to homeowners for repair or replacement of property.
Not much is being said about assistance to Joplin businesses.
Other than St. John’s Hospital, badly damaged by the tornado, storm-hit businesses in the city get scant coverage.
Over the weekend, St. John’s --- in action reminiscent of M*A*S*H, the 1972-1983 CBS-TV series about Army medics in a field hospital during the Korean War --- set up a temporary medical facility close to its badly damaged 10-story building.
Other research by Grumpy Editor finds the twister closed:
- Three Wendy’s/Arby’s Group restaurants.
- Two Walgreens stores.
- A McDonald’s restaurant.
- A Wal-Mart store with a lost roof.
- Two Commerce Bank offices.
- A Home Depot store.
Meanwhile, a General Mills plant experienced minor damage.
On the prompt progress side, a destroyed hair salon structure is being rebuilt, framing already in place --- with work started before FEMA came on the scene.