Franklin County Residents Question FEMA Storm Shelter Delay

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After the deadly tornado outbreak on April 27th, 2011 FEMA approved grants to fund personal storm shelters.

Some Franklin County residents are still waiting to see the money.

When the sky gets dark and the winds pick up, Marie Plunkett wants a personal storm shelter to ride out the storm but for now, Plunkett says she’s riding a wave of emotions as she must just wait to get approved for a FEMA shelter.

“I don`t know how I fell through the cracks.  Where did my paperwork go?” questioned Plunkett.

On April 27th, 2011 Plunkett took cover inside her home.

“I`ll never forget the sound, I`ll never forget the feeling of the pressure.  It was only God’s angels that protected me around this house,” said Plunkett.

It's been nearly a year since the storms ripped through Phil Campbell, and evidence of the storm still lingers, but Plunkett says the most painful reminder of the storms is the fact that she still doesn't have a shelter to call her own.

“Somewhere down the line out of 100, you’d think I coulda gotten one,” said Plunkett.

After months of waiting for an answer, Plunkett says she was out of options and frustrated with the system, so she called WHNT News 19 for help.

“Am I on the list?  No, you`ll be in the next 25, well I did that for four times, I was always suppose to be in the next 25 list,” said Plunkett.

According to Franklin County Emergency Manager, Roy Gober, the applications got submitted back in July.  Five months later, in November FEMA approved the first three groups of applications.  However Gober says he's also still waiting for FEMA to approve the final group.

“They are not any more frustrated them I am,” said Gober.  “Listen, I want them to get a shelter, I’m doing everything I can and I sympathize with them but if you think they are frustrated, I’m frustrated, because it’s taking so long.”

So for both the EMA manager and Franklin County residents, it’s a waiting game that keeps some families without a personal shelter for now.

The Franklin County Emergency Manager says he calls FEMA every week, checking on the status.

Gober says he expects a response from FEMA within the next 30 days.

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