CLEMENTS, Ala. (WHNT) – One week ago today a series of tornadoes ripped through parts of the Tennessee Valley. At least one of those hit Limestone County, causing more than 4 million dollars in damage.
The progress people have made there in the last week has been remarkable. But there’s still a long way to go and a lot left to do.
One of the big questions is when will FEMA open a disaster relief center?
A spokesperson with the Limestone County EMA tells us it’s going to be about a week before the FEMA office is open and operating. We understand one FEMA official is in the area now. He is reportedly gathering information related to the clean-up of debris. It will be several more days before FEMA officials are here taking applications from individuals affected by the storm.
The American Red Cross set-up a disaster relief office at the Friendship Methodist Church on Lucas Ferry Road. They’re taking applications from storm victims right now.
“I can’t even over-emphasize to your viewing public how much need is in this community. A lot of housing needs and it may be difficult to find rentals so that’s probably going to be a problem that we’ll be facing a little further downstream,” according to American Red Cross spokesperson Charlotte Simpson.
Meanwhile the disaster relief center that was at Blue Springs Elementary School all last week has been moved. The school is being cleaned and readied for students. The relief center is now at the Seven Mile Post Road Church with hot meals, showers and even laundry facilities.
Sonja Hayes is with the Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief Organization. “So we have done a breakfast today and a lunch today and we’ll do a dinner tonight and tomorrow we’ll start with hot meals.”
The relief center at Clements Baptist Church re-opened at 9 Monday morning and there was a line of people waiting to get in. They also opened a day care facility for parents who need child care while they work around their damaged homes. Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham’s disaster relief ministry, is also set-up at Clements.
“What we continue to need is volunteers, hands and feet. People to go out and assist these people with debris clean-up,” according to Samaritan’s Purse spokesperson Wayne Shoemaker. He adds, “We’re doing trees, tarps, things like that, possession recovery for folks who have things we can help get those items from their home and into a pod or something like that. So that’s the kind of help we need right now.”
And the appeal for volunteers is gong out to individuals, groups, and businesses. Just check in at the Clements Baptist Church and they’ll direct you to where help is needed. As for FEMA, we’re not sure when they’ll get here but you can go on-line and pre-register for FEMA assistance.