Joplin after the tornado: a photo essay

August 4, 2011

On May 22, a category five tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri. During 45 harrowing minutes, one-third of the city of 50,000 was destroyed, including 40 percent of its housing. From July 27-29 a delegation of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders visited Joplin to learn more about the church’s efforts to help with the relief and recovery efforts. This is what they saw. (All photos by Jerry Van Marter, except as noted.)

  1. Hello i am a fairmont state university student and my major is saftey engineer i am doing a prensatation on joplin mi. i would first like to send my deepest symphathy to everyone there. I was wondering if anyone has any pictures of the town before anfter and now for the recovery if so please send me all you can on the history of this and the recoveryplan. Thank you, Pam Wright FSU_ student

    by pam wright

    February 7, 2012

  2. I had the priveledge of going to Joplin with a team from Westminster Presyterian Church from Port Huron, MI. I am humbled at the wonderful people of Joplin, Christ the King Pres Church and Ozark Christian College for their hospitality. Working in farmer Dave's hay field was an experience I will never forget. Bless the town of Joplin.

    by Cathy Truchan

    August 15, 2011

  3. First Pres. Church in Joplin is hosting volunteers. They are getting job assignments from Ameri-corps. Work teams can contact the PDA National Call Center (866/732-6121) or e-mail them at for more information. Other cities are looking for volunteers also.

    by Rick Turner

    August 6, 2011

  4. Takes ones breath away and brings back some memories of my first parish in KS and the threats that often came about tornadoes.. one hit about 100 miles away. Awesome power but so is the power of prayer and responses by the PDA. Prayers continue to accompany their responses.

    by Bud Frimoth

    August 5, 2011

  5. Are there opportunities for work groups to go to Joplin? We have a group that has made ten trips to New Orleans to do Katrina relief, Would like to know if we could help in Joplin. Bob

    by Bob Patton

    August 4, 2011

  6. "The cross was about the only thing left standing of the Catholic church." But it did still stand. That's the first thing I saw on the news and the symbol is steadfast. Thanks be to God.

    by Julie Sewell

    August 4, 2011