Only a week and a half after the F5 tornado flattened Joplin, Missouri, residents are picking up their hammers and beginning to rebuild their homes. The scale of the disaster and, more importantly, the recovery efforts is also coming into focus. According to the Governor Jay Nixon, the cost of the logistically and environmentally delicate rebuilding of the town of 50,000 will cost "tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars," ninety percent of which will be paid for by the federal government. (They did the same for the deadly storms in Alabama this past April.) However, as reported by USA Today last week, the cost of this year's bad luck with nature stands to drain the Federal Emergency Management Agency of its rebuilding money. Without additional funding, "FEMA will have to stop recovery efforts in 50 states in the spring of 2012," Senator Mary Landrieu, head of the panel that oversees FEMA funds, wrote in a letter to her colleagues.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also involved in the recovery. To put things into perspective, EPA spokesperson Chris Whitley told the Associated Press, "[With such a wide area hit] there are estimates that there will be more waste that will come from this that will need to be pulled away than there was at the World Trade Center site after 9-11."
In his visit to Joplin on Sunday, President Obama reiterated how the government would endure the undertaking with them. "The cameras may leave, the spotlight may shift, but we will be with you every step of the way, until Joplin is restored and this community is back on its feet," he said in a speech. "We're not going anywhere."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.