Skip over global navigation links
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

2011 Joplin, Missouri Tornadoes

May 27, 2011:   To protect health and save lives, HHS agencies are working closely with state agencies and regional networks in response to public health, medical, and human services needs of Missouri communities impacted by a tornado May 22. More than 150 personnel have deployed to support the state in disaster response and recovery. 

Approximately 100 personnel from National Disaster Medical System Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and Family Assistance Center Team are now deployed to Missouri to assist the county coroner’s office and families in identifying victims and returning remains to their loved ones. The Family Assistance Center Team continues to work directly with families to gather information that can help identify victims of the disaster. The DMORT is now working 24 hours a day with the coroner’s personnel in identifying victims, working as quickly as possible to help provide a sense of closure to families. The team is using a Disaster Portable Morgue Unit to support these local mortuary operations.

The Administration for Children and Families is providing technical assistance to support the State's human services response efforts, including restoring child care service and emergency child care as the city’s child care infrastructure is rebuilt. ACF is coordinating Federal support to Missouri Department of Social Services to met the childcare needs of Joplin families following the destruction of 17 childcare centers by the tornado.  ACF continues to liaise with state and local human services agencies to identify unmet needs and respond to any requests for assistance.

Regional Emergency Coordinators from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, members of a Regional Incident Support Team from the Assistant Secretary of Health, and a liaison from the Administration for Children and Families are providing technical assistance to the state in articulating health and human service needs in response and recovery.

An ASPR Incident Response Coordination Team, including representatives from CDC and HHS ESF-6 agencies such as ACF, ensures federal public health and medical teams have what they need to assist the state at this critical time. This team is the “on the ground” command-and-control for federal public health and medical assets.

With almost all behavioral health facilities in Joplin destroyed, SAMHSA is working to add impacted counties into the national crisis counseling program. To aid grieving families, SAMHSA has updated stress and grief materials and distributed this information to state and local agencies and posted the information online. This week, SAMHSA worked with state authorities in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas to make emergency arrangements for patients in need of medication assisted substance abuse treatment services after the clinic these patients used for treatment services was destroyed.

An Incident Management Team from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed work with state and local health departments on inspections of FDA-regulated industries, such as food processing facilities and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, impacted by the tornadoes to ensure the safety of FDA-regulated products.

The Health Resources and Services Administration determined that community health centers are intact despite the tornado’s impact on the city and continue to provide services in the community.

AoA is in continual contact with regional, state and local aging agencies and is participating in HHS and FEMA disaster response and coordination calls. AoA continues to relay information to the Aging Network, long-term care Ombudsmen and Adult Protective Services statewide hotline regarding the AoA Disaster Assistance Grant, CMS waivers for hospitals and other information on resources such as the Family Assistance Center. AoA personnel stand ready to deploy as needed.

CDC continues to provide information to the public on protecting health during clean-up operations. Information is available on cdc.gov and through social media. All federal public health and medical disaster information, including mental health resource links, for this response is aggregated on www.phe.gov for easy access and use by the public.

A public health emergency was declared Monday for the state of Missouri and on Tuesday the National Disaster Medical System was activated and the U.S. Public Health Service was placed on advisory status to provide direct support to the state.

About the public health emergency declaration

The public health emergency is declared under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act and is necessary so that HHS may waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements under section 1135 of the Social Security Act. The state can submit waiver requests through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Office.

Under section 1135, HHS may permit affected health care facilities in Missouri to relax certain operating procedures temporarily so health care services can be delivered, such as allowing critical access hospitals to take more than the statutorily mandated limit of 25 patients and not count the expected longer lengths of stay for evacuated patients against the 96-hour average.


May 26, 2011:
  HHS agencies continue to work with state agencies and regional networks to respond to public health and medical needs of impacted communities.

Regional Emergency Coordinators from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, members of a Regional Incident Support Team from the Assistant Secretary of Health, and a liaison from the Administration for Children and Families are providing technical assistance to the state in articulating health and human service needs in response and recovery.

An Incident Management Team from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration completed work today with state and local health departments on inspections of FDA-regulated industries, such as food processing facilities and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, impacted by the tornadoes to ensure the safety of FDA-regulated products.
The Administration for Children and Families is providing technical assistance to support the State's human services response efforts, including restoring child care service and emergency child care as the city’s child care infrastructure is rebuilt. ACF is contacting state and local human services agencies to identify any unmet needs and to response to any requests for assistance.
ASPR deployed a National Disaster Medical System Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and Family Assistance Center Team to Missouri. These personnel assist the county coroner’s office and families in identifying victims and returning remains to their loved ones. The Family Assistance Center Team works directly with families to gather information that can help identify victims of the disaster. The DMORT uses precise forensic science in identifying victims, working as quickly as possible to help provide a sense of closure to families. The team is using a Disaster Portable Morgue Unit to support these local mortuary operations.
An ASPR Incident Response Coordination Team, including representatives from CDC and HHS ESF-6 agencies such as ACF, ensures federal public health and medical teams have what they need to assist the state at this critical time. This team is the “on the ground” command-and-control for federal public health and medical assets.

SAMHSA worked with state authorities in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas to make emergency arrangements for patients in need of medication assisted substance abuse treatment services after the clinic these patients used for treatment services was destroyed. Almost all behavioral health facilities in Joplin have been destroyed and SAMHSA is working to add impacted counties into the national crisis counseling program. To aid grieving families, SAMHSA has updated stress and grief materials and distributed this information to state and local agencies and posted the information online.

The Health Resources and Services Administration determined that community health centers are intact despite the tornado’s impact on the city and continue to provide services in the community.

AoA is in continual contact with regional, state and local aging agencies and is participating in HHS and FEMA disaster response and coordination calls. AoA continues to relay information to the Aging Network, long-term care Ombudsmen and Adult Protective Services statewide hotline regarding the AoA Disaster Assistance Grant, CMS waivers for hospitals and other information on resources such as the Family Assistance Center. AoA personnel stand ready to deploy as needed.

CDC continues to provide information to the public on protecting health during clean-up operations. Information is available on cdc.gov and through social media. All federal public health and medical disaster information, including mental health resource links, for this response is aggregated on www.phe.gov for easy access and use by the public.

A public health emergency was declared Monday for the state of Missouri and on Tuesday the National Disaster Medical System was activated and the U.S. Public Health Service was placed on advisory status to provide direct support to the state.

About the public health emergency declaration

The public health emergency is declared under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act and is necessary so that HHS may waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements under section 1135 of the Social Security Act. The state can submit waiver requests through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Office.
Under section 1135, HHS may permit affected health care facilities in Missouri to relax certain operating procedures temporarily so health care services can be delivered, such as allowing critical access hospitals to take more than the statutorily mandated limit of 25 patients and not count the expected longer lengths of stay for evacuated patients against the 96-hour average

May 25, 2011:  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is dedicated to saving lives and protecting health. We also are striving to bring closure to victims’ families in the fatalities resulting from this disaster. As the lead for the federal government’s public health and medical response to disasters, HHS is coordinating all federal public health and medical assets to support Missouri in responding to tornadoes that struck the state May 22.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared a public health emergency for the state of Missouri Monday. Tuesday the National Disaster Medical System was activated and the U.S. Public Health Service was placed on advisory status to provide direct support to impacted hospitals and provide mass fatality support.

About the public health emergency declaration

The public health emergency is declared under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act and is necessary so that HHS may waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements under section 1135 of the Social Security Act. The state can submit waiver requests through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Office.

Under section 1135, HHS may permit affected health care facilities in Missouri to relax certain operating procedures temporarily so health care services can be delivered, such as allowing critical access hospitals to take more than the statutorily mandated limit of 25 patients and not count the expected longer lengths of stay for evacuated patients against the 96-hour average.
About HHS response and recovery support

HHS agencies are working with state agencies and regional networks to respond to public health and medical needs of impacted communities. Regional Emergency Coordinators from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, members of a Regional Incident Support Team from the Assistant Secretary of Health, and a liaison from the Administration for Children and Families are providing technical assistance to the state in articulating health and human service needs in response and recovery.

The Administration for Children and Families is providing technical assistance to support the State's human services response efforts, including restoring child care service and emergency child care as the city’s child care infrastructure is rebuilt. ACF is contacting state and local human services agencies to identify any unmet needs and to response to any requests for assistance.

ASPR deployed National Disaster Medical System assets to support the state and local health agencies in responding to the disaster. Yesterday a Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Assessment Team worked with the state and local coroners and medical examiners in determining the full extent of federal mortuary resources needed and currently a Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team of 28 professionals is assisting the county coroner’s office and families in identifying victims and returning remains with dignity and respect to their loved ones. This HHS team uses precise forensic science in identifying victims, working as quickly as possible to help provide a sense of closure to families. The team is using a Disaster Portable Morgue Unit to support these local mortuary operations.

An NDMS Family Assistance Center Team of 24 professionals is supporting the county coroner’s office in working with families to gather information that can help identify victims of this disaster.
An Incident Management Team from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to work with state and local health departments to assist with inspections of FDA-regulated industries, such as food processing facilities and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, impacted by the tornadoes to ensure the safety of FDA-regulated products.

An ASPR Incident Response Coordination Team, including representatives from HHS ESF-6 agencies such as ACF, ensures federal public health and medical teams have what they need to assist the state at this critical time. This team is the “on the ground” command-and-control for federal public health and medical assets.

SAMHSA worked with state authorities in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas to make emergency arrangements for patients in need of medication assisted substance abuse treatment services after the clinic these patients used for treatment services was destroyed. Almost all behavioral health facilities in Joplin have been destroyed and SAMHSA is working to add impacted counties into the national crisis counseling program. To aid grieving families, SAMHSA has updated stress and grief materials and distributed this information to state and local agencies and posted the information online.

The Health Resources and Services Administration determined that community health centers are intact despite the tornado’s impact on the city and continue to provide services in the community.

AoA is in continual contact with state and local aging agencies and is participating in Emergency Support Function 6 (Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services) coordination calls. AoA personnel stand ready to deploy as needed.

CDC continues to provide information to the public on protecting health during clean-up operations. Information is available on cdc.gov and through social media. All federal public health and medical disaster information, including mental health resource links, for this response is aggregated on www.phe.gov for easy access and use by the public.

May 24, 2011:  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is dedicated to saving lives and protecting health. As the lead for the federal government’s public health and medical response to disasters, HHS is coordinating all federal public health and medical assets to support Missouri in responding to tornadoes that struck the state May 22.

Yesterday HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared a public health emergency for the state of Missouri. Today the National Disaster Medical System was activated and the U.S. Public Health Service was placed on advisory status to provide direct support to impacted hospitals and provide mass fatality support.

The public health emergency is declared under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act and is necessary so that HHS may waive or modify certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements under section 1135 of the Social Security Act. The state can submit waiver requests through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Office.

Under section 1135, HHS may permit affected health care facilities in Missouri to relax certain operating procedures temporarily so health care services can be delivered, such as allowing critical access hospitals to take more than the statutorily mandated limit of 25 patients and not count the expected longer lengths of stay for evacuated patients against the 96-hour average.

HHS agencies are working with state agencies and regional networks to respond to public health and medical needs of impacted communities. Regional Emergency Coordinators from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and a Regional Incident Support Team from the Assistant Secretary for Health are providing technical assistance to the state in articulating health and human service needs, including hospital needs.

ASPR deployed National Disaster Medical System assets to support the state and local health agencies in responding to the disaster. A Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Assessment Team today is working with the state and local coroners and medical examiners in determining the full extent of federal mortuary resources that may be needed. A Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team of 28 professionals and a Family Assistance Center Team of 24 professionals will assist coroners, medical examiners and families in identifying victims and returning remains with dignity and respect to their loved ones. In addition, ASPR provided a Disaster Portable Morgue Unit to support local mortuary operations.

An Incident Management Team from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with state and local health departments to assist with inspections of FDA-regulated industries, such as food processing facilities and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, impacted by the tornadoes to ensure the safety of FDA-regulated products.

An ASPR Incident Response Coordination Team is making sure federal public health and medical teams have what they need to assist the state at this critical time. This team is the “on the ground” command-and-control for federal public health and medical assets.

SAMHSA is working with state authorities in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas to make emergency arrangements for 68 patients in need of medication assisted substance abuse treatment services. The clinic these patients used for treatment services was destroyed.  Almost all behavioral health facilities in Joplin severely destroyed and SAMHSA is working to add impacted counties into the national crisis counseling program.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is in contact with community health centers to identify the storm’s impact and gage their needs.

AoA is maintaining contact with state and local aging agencies and is participating in Emergency Support Function 6 (Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services) coordination calls. AoA personnel stand ready to deploy as needed.

CDC is providing information to the public on protecting health during clean-up operations. Information is available on cdc.gov and through social media. All federal public health and medical disaster information, including mental health resource links, for this response is aggregated on www.phe.gov for easy access and use by the public.

May 23, 2011:  There were reports of tornado activity with baseball sized hail that occurred May 22 in Joplin (population approx 49,000) in Jasper County. A State of Emergency has been declared for the recent storms in the State. A hospital and nursing home were destroyed, two fire stations and numerous utility poles were damaged and there are reports of extensive damage throughout Joplin. The hospital is being evacuated and there are reports that oxygen and combined fuels may cause an explosion. There are unconfirmed reports of 24 fatalities and numerous injuries. One shelter is open with 110 occupants. An estimated 20,000 customers are without power. Interstate 44 and other roads are closed. (Report courtesy of FEMA)

Join the Response

Join NDMS

Register with Emergency System  for Advance Registration of  Volunteer Health Professionals


  • This page last reviewed: May 27, 2011