Gov. Nixon activates Guard to help Joplin

Sunday, May 22, 2011 | 10:28 p.m. CDT; updated 9:14 a.m. CDT, Monday, May 23, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has activated the National Guard following the deadly storms and tornadoes that have hit the southwest.

The governor also declared a state of emergency Sunday night. His office says that state and local law enforcement agencies are coordinating search and rescue and recovery operations in the stricken areas.

A massive tornado flattened a large area of the city of Joplin and heavily damaged St. John's Regional Medical Center.

The hospital evacuated nearly 100 patients after the hospital took a direct hit from a tornado early Sunday evening.

A spokeswoman for the medical center's sister hospital in Springfield said that facility was preparing to receive several patients from the Joplin hospital.

Cora Scott says many of the patients were being taken to Freeman hospital in Joplin, while others will be flown to Springfield and a hospital in Arkansas as soon as it's safe to fly.

Nixon says the National Guard will help local law enforcement with emergency coordination and recovery. He says Missouri's Disaster Medical Assistance Team is also heading to the area.

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