Damage to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo. is shown after it was hit by a tornado on Sunday, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Jaime Green) By Jaime Green
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) -- The rebuilding of the Joplin hospital destroyed by a tornado last year is getting a big boost from the United Arab Emirates -- a $5 million gift for a pediatric section and a neonatal intensive care unit.
UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba announced the donation Friday in Joplin, just days before the first anniversary of the May 22 twister that killed 161 people and destroyed 8,000 buildings, including Mercy Hospital.
The oil-rich Persian Gulf nation has stepped in to help Joplin before. Last year, the UAE made a challenge grant donation worth up to $1 million to provide new laptop computers for all 2,200 high school students. Volunteers from the UAE also helped build Habitat for Humanity homes in Joplin.