Discuss as:

'Cut the city in half': Death toll rises to 116 in Missouri tornado

Charlie Riedel / AP

Ashley Stephens holds a ferret she rescued from the home of a missing woman while helping a friend collect belongings Monday, May 23 in Joplin, Mo. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people.

This is a touching moment. Here's the full story.

Update: AP photographer Charlie Riedel, who also took the pictures below, shares his thoughts about photographing people after this disaster:

In all the years that I have covered disasters, from fires to hurricanes to tornados to the oil spill, I don’t think I have ever run into anyone who doesn’t feel a little bit happy that someone is taking an interest in their life and story. A lot of the time I will approach someone who is sorting through what is left of their house, and they are very talkative, very appreciative of my taking an interest in them. Part of that may come from the fact that a victim may feel like an insignificant speck amongst a huge disaster -- and this disaster is immense. So when someone takes an interest in them, they respond. I did a lot of work on the 2007 Greensburg, Kan., tornado, rated an EF5. Last night’s tornado strikes me as Greensburg on steroids. The sheer immensity of it all is what struck me. You can look anywhere and see total and utter devastation.

 

Charlie Riedel / AP

Storm clouds dwarf a farm near Lamar, Mo. as the sun sets Sunday, May 22, 2011. The storm earlier produced a large tornado moved through much of Joplin, Mo., damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Charlie Riedel / AP

Anita Stokes salvages meat from a freezer at her home that was destroyed by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Charlie Riedel / AP

A shelf cloud containing a thunderstorm approaches a tornado-ravaged neighborhood in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 23, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital, hundreds of homes and businesses and killing at least 89 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Charlie Riedel / AP

An emergency worker searches a Walmart store that was severely damaged by a tornado in Joplin, Mo., Monday, May 22, 2011. A large tornado moved through much of the city Sunday, damaging a hospital and hundreds of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Continuing coverage in our slideshow.

Earlier PhotoBlog posts on the Joplin tornado.