At a news conference this afternoon, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced 116 deaths from the tornado yesterday in Joplin. There have been seven successful rescues today from the rubble of the center of this southwestern Missouri community.
The Missouri National Guard has over 250 soldiers in Joplin. Trained search and rescue units, military police and engineering units are all active. The Joplin armory is expected to be up and running tomorrow as the task force headquarters for the Guard response. 450 additional Guardsmen are on standby for deployment to Joplin, and will be dispatched as the needs of the community dictate.
Joplin is the headquarters of the 203rd Engineering Battalion, and two companies of its troops. The Missouri National Guard had this to say about the status of their Joplin soldiers:
While some Soldiers under the 203rd Engineer Battalion are currently working on our tornado response mission, we remind everyone that for our Soldiers and Airmen in the Joplin area, their first responsibility is ensuring the health and well-being of their Families. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in southwest Missouri.