Missouri tornado toll rises to 132

Washington, May 28 (IANS/EFE) The toll in the tornado that devastated Joplin city in the American state of Missouri has reached 132, while 156 people still remain unaccounted for, officials said.

At least 90 people previously listed as missing checked in with their loved ones or with authorities.

Six people whose names appeared on the list of the missing were found dead, said Andrea Spillars, deputy director and general counsel for the Missouri department of public safety.

Only 19 of the fatalities have been identified, partly due to new steps instituted after a woman erroneously identified a victim as her son.

‘It is important that we be absolutely accurate in this process,’ Spillars said.

Forensics specialists are in Joplin to aid in the identification of the bodies.

The storm left 900 people injured as it flattened numerous homes and other buildings Sunday night in Joplin, a city of 50,000 people, roughly 257 km south of Kansas.

More than 8,000 structures were damaged by the tornado, which had winds of more than 320 km per hour, according to the US National Weather Service.

Storms also left 13 dead in Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

US President Barack Obama will travel to Joplin Sunday to oversee recovery efforts and meet victims’ families.

IANS