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29 still missing in Joplin after tornado

A Missouri state official says the remains of 146 people have been found, but the exact death toll is unclear. FEMA hopes to find tornado victims rental housing and may consider bringing in trailers.

May 30, 2011
  • A tattered flag waves in the wind Monday morning outside the tornado-stricken St. Mary's Catholic Church on 26th Street in Joplin.
A tattered flag waves in the wind Monday morning outside the tornado-stricken… (T. Rob Brown / The Joplin…)

JOPLIN, Mo. — — The number of people unaccounted for after the Joplin tornado is down to 29.

Missouri Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Andrea Spillars also said Monday that the remains of 146 people had been found, but that some could be duplicates. As a result, Spillars said, she cannot confirm exactly how many people died in the May 22 twister.

The number of people unaccounted for stood at 43 on Sunday. One person has since been found alive, one had been listed twice and the number of confirmed dead has risen to 14. Offsetting that, four more people have been listed as missing.

The original list had 232 people. Spillars said 140 of those people had been confirmed as alive.

In the meantime, some of those left homeless by the tornado could be placed in rental homes nearly an hour's drive away, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would consider bringing in trailers, as it did for New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, if not enough homes were available.

FEMA's first option for housing the thousands of displaced is to find them existing rental accommodations within a 55-mile radius of Joplin.

FEMA spokeswoman Susie Stonner said that despite the distance, putting people in permanent housing was preferable to trailers — especially in an area prone to tornadoes and severe weather.

Temporary housing will be made available for up to 18 months. Some people along the Gulf Coast still live in FEMA trailers nearly six years after Hurricane Katrina.

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