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May 26, 2011

132 Dead From Tornado in Joplin, Missouri

The death toll from one of the deadliest tornadoes to ever hit the United States rose to 132 Friday, as crews searched the rubble for survivors and victims.

The tornado cut through the central U.S. city of Joplin, Missouri, last Sunday, tearing apart homes and buildings, crushing cars and snapping trees.

Missouri officials say 156 people are still missing from the storm, the deadliest single tornado in the United States since 1947.  

President Barack Obama plans to travel to Joplin on Sunday to speak with people affected by the tornado and to local officials about response efforts. He has pledged that the government will do everything it can to help people recover and rebuild.

The president says the damage in Joplin is comparable to, and may exceed, the devastation suffered by the southern city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, during deadly tornadoes and thunderstorms last month.

The violent storms were part of a wave of severe weather in the southern United States. More than 300 people were killed.  

Elsewhere, emergency officials have reported at least 14 deaths in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas from tornadoes that hit Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.