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Volunteers Canvass Tornado Zone to See What's Left For Joplin Recovery

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Volunteers from across the country are in town to help "Rebuild Joplin" count the number of houses left to be rebuilt in the tornado zone. Farmers Insurance has a partnership with Rebuild Joplin, and this week it's employees are putting down the pen and paper to help Joplinites get home in the "Black Out The Blocks" event.  

Rene Williams and 40 other Farmers Insurance employees from across the country have come to Joplin with one goal in mind. Swapping work shoes for walking shoes, pounding the pavement, and figuring out just where Joplin is in it's recovery. Williams has come as far as Northridge, California, and says with earthquakes in her neck of the woods, she empathizes with Joplin.
 
"I know what it's like when you don't have water, and power, and everything is a mess, and trying to rebuild, so it's a great opportunity," Williams said. 

These volunteers are going block by block, and home by home to see exactly how many homes are left to be rebuilt after the tornado, something they say hasn't been done yet in Joplin.

"We have to identify each parcel as to whether it's vacant, it has a home on it, and whether it could possibly benefit from a visit from a professional builders at Rebuild Joplin," said Nan Treul, who works for Farmers and organized the three day event.  

Though exact numbers haven't been counted since the days after the tornado, the City says it's been keeping track through things like building permits. The yellow portions on the map attached to this story show plots of land that have yet to apply for any building permits in the city since the tornado. By the Assistant City Planner's estimates there are about 1,400 plots in the tornado zone still left to apply for the correct permits.  

"Those are concrete numbers and we do have data, it's just constantly changing, and again, when you compare those numbers to other disaster communities, those are milestones that are comparatively put us in good standing," said Assistant City Planner Jonathan Raiche. 

And while neither the City of Joplin nor Farmers Insurance disputes that Joplin has come a long way in the past couple of years, these employees say they are just happy to aid in what ever will help continue with the process.

"I hope we're able to actually help the people of Joplin and to rebuild as quickly as possible, so they can get back into their homes and feel whole again," Williams said.

Several Farmers Insurance employees are also joining Rebuild Joplin Reps and volunteers on construction sites. The group will be in town working through Friday.

For more information on Rebuild Joplin click here

 

 

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