May 26th, 2011
12:20 PM ET

After the chaos: Digging through the damage, searching for the missing

Officials will release a list of 232 people officially reported missing or unaccounted for following the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin, Missouri.

View the list (PDF)

"Our goal is to get that number to 0," Andrea Spillers, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety said Thursday. "We will dedicate as much state resources as needed, around-the-clock, to make sure all of those family members that have loved ones that cannot be found are connected."

Authorities urged residents who may have been reported unaccounted for to let officials know they are okay by calling following number: (417) 895-6868. Those needing to report someone missing to law enforcement should call (417) 659-5464.

The release will come as frustrations and worries continue to mount in Joplin, where 125 people died and a large group of people remain unaccounted for, following the storm. As those hit the hardest struggle with the loss of homes, lives and entire livelihoods, many in the town simply are trying to figure out if those they know and love survived the tornadoes. Families have made public pleas to the media, on Facebook, Twitter and wherever they can in hopes of finding any information about whether their loved ones survived the devastation.

The destruction in Joplin was part of a wave of several powerful storms that battered the nation's heartland this week. The tornadoes just kept coming and coming, bringing death, destruction and four days of fury to the Midwest.

These storms flattened whole towns and separated families. The images are devastating. There are many people in great need of help - for their families and in finding those missing from the storms. Below you'll find their stories and how you can help them.

In the days after the storms our reporters saw the destruction firsthand and heard unbelievable tales of both survival and heartbreaking tales of missing people.

And you brought us powerful pictures and stories, sharing the impact and showing the destruction as you witnessed it using CNN iReport's Open Story.

Powerful stories of survival emerged: people told of how they clung to anything they could to survive the brutal storms. Some hid in freezers, others in their bathrooms with their families, some in shelters built for this specific reason.

On the ground, in all of the areas hit by tornadoes, most of the people say their lives will never be the same. They'll struggle to find a way to move on and to rebuild, and in some cases keep the memory of their loved ones alive.

So if you're looking to help, here are some other ways people and groups around the country are trying to help those battered by the storms unite together and start to recover:

Red Cross: List yourself as safe and well or search for a loved one online or call (417) 659-5464. If you have medical or pharmaceutical emergencies, you can also call the Red Cross at (417) 832-9500.

Officials said those looking to volunteer can call (417) 625-3543. Those looking to make donations can do so on the Red Cross website or by calling (417) 625-3542.

Facebook has also become a massive platform for those creating virtual message boards to try to find out the status of loved ones. The Joplin Globe sets up a Facebook page to link survivors with family and friends. There's a Joplin Loved Ones page, a Joplin lost and found page, a Joplin Tornado Citizen Checks, a group for Joplin People Accounted for after the storm, a group for those who are missing, and one set up for victims and relief efforts.

And if you're looking to help those in need, we've got all the resources you need.

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Filed under: Joplin • Missouri • Oklahoma • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. job

    Ya this is a laughing matter you imbeciles. Die all of you now.

    May 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sorry to Report

    I just read on "The Help Find Lantz Hare" Facebook website that the family identified Lantz at the morgue. I wish CNN would be quicker to update the news and the missing lists.

    May 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. We Need A Miracle

    I am really hoping that Will Norton will be found alive. He's the 18 year old driving home after his graduation.

    May 26, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • dissident

      That's good news for GOP front runner Donald Trump. This will insure he will get more votes.

      May 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      unfortunately, I just read they found him and he is gone.. So sad for all the families...

      May 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chrissy

      Will Norton is still missing, as of now. Lantz Hare, the 16 year old that was in a car with his friend, has been identified at a morgue.

      May 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. texasgirl51


    May 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Len

      I agree. Obama, you can have tea with the Queen any day, you are needed in the Midwest in YOUR country !

      May 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • edco

      Joplin is politically conservative, republican, and tea party toting. Your losses are tragic. I have contributed to relief.
      Where is Sarah Palin, John Boehner, the NRA, the Tea Party, Christian Talk radio, and Rush for help?
      You and they are for no taxes and smaller government. Can smaller help with disasters like this? The Joplin losses
      are 10% of Katrina. How do you Obama bashers feel about fed aid for Katrina relief? How do you feel about Fed aid for Joplin relief? Shoe on the other foot? Still want a smaller government? Get a smaller disaster. I have lost everything material I had to a storm in 1979. All but my life. I received and asked for no aid. I rebuilt one earned dollar at a time.
      I was happy to have survived. I know what you are in. I am sorry. I did not my disaster into a political punching contest.
      Eric Cantor your Republican Congressman does not want to spend any fed money on Joplin. Wow! Check your politics for 2012. You kind is voting the wrong way. Good Luck

      May 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      How ignorant of a comment.. The trip to Ireland and England were planned months ago. As sad as it is in Joplin our president has much more to take care of than just one town.. He does however plan to come there this Sunday, in the mean time we have Fema, the red cross and many people helping.. Obama's appearance is only to make all of you feel good, there is not one thing he can do that Fema isn't already doing.. Get real here !

      May 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mark

      Huh didnt know Obama could bring the dead back.......

      May 27, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. maria

    Michelle Hare DID find her son (Lantz). Unfortunately, he was positively identified in the morgue, and his name will be added to the list of those killed in the tornado. I was following the family's search on Facebook, and they posted today that he was in fact dead. So very sad. So many families going through the same thing.

    May 26, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Poolchick

    Yup, you're right. You are a germ and an ignorant moron as well.

    May 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kar1

    Common CNN get off those overworked first responders–this is not New York City–this is a town with small facilities.
    Quite pounding on them!. There are two sides to this not just the grieved parents but the grieved AND overworked.

    May 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shani

    Is it my IMAGINATION or the video clip get MICHELLE HARE's missing son's name wrong? The video clip says her MISSING SON's name is LANCE (HARE), but the person on the list with the surname HARE is "CALEY." There is no one named LANCE on the list. Come on CNN (or Missouri Department of Public Safety) let's get the facts consistent and straight. This is a golden opportunity for the missing. I pray that as many people as possible will be found alive. God Bless.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Len

      His name was Caley Lantz Hare and he was reported missing by both his mother and father, which is why he is on the list twice. The simple confusion of his name is understandable, but his death is not. How sad.

      May 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cici

    i live in the area n everyone posting on this n blaming anyone u guys r so nonsense. u cant find anyone else bto blame it on u blame first obama den da service men n women den the government officials n den GOD if u think u can do a better job den comen help but if ur just making excuse n pointin finger shut up n get a life. everyone is doing their hardest to find these missing pepo. everyone is tired n trying their very bestest i just wanted to thank everyone that is involved u guys are doing a great job.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. paperjihad

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Joplin.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    people need someone to blame so they blame God.

    It's hard to imagine such a cruel tragedy with no one to blame.

    God don't exist to punish or help, but houses built with stones instead wood IS a life saving

    May 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wadesville

    Everyone, please, just take a minute to think about what has been lost by so many. Donate what you can, be it diapers, bandaids, water or blankets, whatever the need is. These people need your help, not your petty fighting.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sam harnden

    I feel CNN contributed greatly to "the chaos" by mis-reporting on the Joplin Tornado. A great part of the media's responsibility is to serve the public by passing along warnings from experts.

    CNN 'weather' entirely missed the storm building up in Kansas on Sunday...It was covered by the Weather Channel and NBC. THEY had reporters on the ground immediately. Residents had ample warning.

    CNN arrived at least 24 hours late with your HURRICANE reporter from CA.....BOTTOM LINE CNN GOT SCOOPED!
    They stayed out of the loop...

    May 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JC

    I don't know how many of you have read the time line of the warnings and events for this tragedy, but after reviewing it, and reviewing the actual activities of the citizens as reported and related, it comes to my mind that the great loss of life was largely preventable. It is an aspect which has been gone lightly over by the national media due to sensitivity over the loss of life, but this is exactly the sort of thing which should be closely examined to prevent further tragedies of this sort. One example is the case of the high school student being sucked out of his SUV. What was the high school thinking carrying out graduation activities of any kind with first a tornado watch, then a tornado warning in effect? There are many others. It seems that either the town did not take the warning seriously, or the town leadership did a poor job of warning their citizens. It does not take a genius to look at the map for tornado reports, plot the sightings, and realize that you are in harm's way. A friend of mine lives in Indiana, in a small town which had been narrowly missed 5 times by twisters, when another warning was issued. I asked him where he was, and he replied "underground until the warning expires." Sounds like pretty good advice to me.

    May 26, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Len

      Obviously you don'l live in the midwest. A tornado, and even a thunderstom can spawn up at any moment. I live in Missouri and today we have had sunshine, thunderstorm, sunshine and another storm headed this way. Oh, Mother Nature...give us a break !

      May 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue

      In the midwest the tornado watches are a constant occurance. Its not like a huuricane that can be tracked for days...They can come out of nowhere, a beautiful blue sky day can be hell half an hour later. You might want to educate yourself before making stupid comments!

      May 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. marianna68

    How about quit bickering on sites like this and have a little respect for the dead and the mourning families....

    May 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
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