WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama will take part on Sunday in a ceremony to mourn the 132 people killed by a powerful tornado which tore through a Missouri town, the White House said.
Obama, who will only arrive back in the United States from a European tour on Saturday, will head for Joplin on Sunday, where 156 people are also still missing since the tornado hit.
Some of the missing may be among the 132 bodies resting in the city’s morgues, as not all of dead have been identified yet.
“The president will see firsthand the devastation caused by the storms and make brief remarks at a memorial service held by local clergy and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon for those who lost their lives,” the White House said.
He would also “visit with those in the community who lost so much during last week’s deadly, historic tornadoes,” a statement added.
About 8,000 buildings were wrecked in the tornado which ripped through the town of 50,000 people packing winds over 200 miles (320 kilometers) an hour late Sunday.