Joplin is getting another big boost from the Middle East as the Missouri city rebuilds and prepares for the anniversary of a devastating tornado that killed 161 people.
United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba was in Joplin Friday to announce that the oil-rich Persian Gulf nation is donating $5 million to Mercy Hospital for a pediatric section and the development of a neonatal intensive care unit, a first for the Joplin hospital.
Mercy was one of the most prominent of 8,000 buildings destroyed in the May 22 twister. The towering structure was left little more than a shell after the EF-5 tornado cut a wide swath through the southwest Missouri community. The hospital was knocked 4 inches off its foundation. Every window was blown out. Several people inside were killed or injured.
Mercy has relocated to a temporary space with plans to have a new 825,000-square foot, 300-bed hospital in operation by 2015.