Stamford-based AmeriCares has sent an emergency response expert to Joplin, Mo., to assess the damage from Sunday’s tornado. The death toll stands at 117. With communication lines down, sending a person is the fastest way to contact shelters and hospitals in the area, a statement said.

“The first 48 hours of an emergency are the most critical,” said Ella Gudwin, AmeriCares vice president of emergency response. The emergency response person will determine the best way to send medical and emergency supplies.

AmeriCares routinely sends medical supplies to health clinics in Joplin and Springfield, Mo., that serve the uninsured and underinsured. “AmeriCares prepositions emergency relief supplies so we are ready to respond to disasters around the world and across the United States at a moment’s notice,” Gudwin said.

Since April, AmeriCares has been sending aid to victims of the tornadoes in Alabama and Mississippi as well as to other areas of the country devastated by natural disasters.

To donate, visit AmeriCares’ website or call 1-800-486-HELP.

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