FEMA tours storm damaged areas

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

It has been nearly two weeks since the EF-3 tornado devastated Salyersville. Now FEMA officials are touring the area helping homeowners learn how to get back on their feet.

Clean-up is under way in Salyersville, but many people are still in shock.

"It's a disaster you know. Honestly I don't know what to say at a time, place like this," said Magoffin County resident David May.

Another Magoffin County resident described how upsetting the damage is, "I just cried. I just broke down crying. I didn't know how to react really."

FEMA officials toured the area Thursday to help address concerns and questions about how to receive federal aid.

"Sometimes people may not even be aware there's been a disaster declaration, so that they know help is available, and they can explain how to get it," said FEMA Public Information Officer Mary Margaret Walker.

"We make contact with the residents who were affected, and what we do is urge them to register," said FEMA Communications Relations Specialist Henry Borrazzo.

By registering, people can see exactly what type of aid they are eligible for and how much.

Officials say the first thing homeowners should do is contact their insurance companies, then contact FEMA.

"We're trying to make sure that we use the funds that we have wisely and make sure it goes to the people who need it," Walker said.

They say they just want people to know they are here to help.

"Our mission with FEMA is to try the make the folks whole. We don't try to make it better, but we try to make them whole," Borrazzo said.

"We're happy! We're glad they're going to help us," Gipson said.

FEMA officials say the best thing to do for anyone with questions is to visit the disaster recovery center in that area.

To register call 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.fema.gov. You can also go to any disaster recover center.

Note: The following is a clarification from FEMA concerning Mr. Borrazzo’s previous statement:

FEMA’s programs are designed to help disaster survivors take the first steps toward recovery. This involves helping them meet essential needs and critical expenses, including temporary housing, repairs to make homes safe, sanitary, and functional as well as other serious disaster-related needs. The programs are not designed to return homes and property to their pre-disaster condition.

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