Obama sends FEMA help to Mo.

President Obama on Monday called Missouri's governor to offer condolences for those killed by a massive tornado that swept across the state on Sunday.

At least 89 people were killed in the town of Joplin, Mo., according to The Associated Press.

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Obama assured Gov. Jay Nixon (D) that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would be in close contact and would coordinate with state and local officials to help Missouri deal with the disaster. 

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has been directed by Obama to travel to Missouri, and a FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team is en route to Joplin, according to White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro. 

"Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the tornadoes and severe weather that struck Joplin, Mo., as well as communities across the Midwest today," the president said in a statement. "We commend the heroic efforts by those who have responded and who are working to help their friends and neighbors at this very difficult time. At my direction, FEMA is working with the affected areas' state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts, and the federal government stands ready to help our fellow Americans as needed."

The New York Times reported that a major hospital in town was flattened and had to be abandoned. The triage unit set up on its grounds to attend to patients had to be moved across the street temporarily after the hospital caught fire, the paper reported.

This story was posted at 6:59 a.m. and updated at 9:14 a.m.