Preliminary Estimate $11-$12
Million In Property
BY KEN LITTLE
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., met with Greene County tornado victims Friday and reiterated a pledge from state and local officials to assure help gets to those in need.
Corker toured the devastation in the Camp Creek and Horse Creek communities before visiting some storm-damaged sites in Washington County.
Corker said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other organizations are ready to provide aid.
"A lot of families are going to need a lot of help and a lot of assistance for a long, long time," he said after his motorcade paused in the Horse Creek community, where one woman died in the tornadoes and severe storms that tore through the region the night of April 27.
The storm has claimed seven lives in Greene County.
Corker visited the property off Morgan Branch Lane where Shirley McKinney lost her life, and spoke with family members and others helping to clean debris from the scene.
Corker spoke of the "incredible devastation" he saw in Greene County, and praised the work of local emergency responders and volunteers.
"They've been with us from the very beginning and they will be with us to the very end," he said.
There is now a "full range of assistance for those in Greene and Washington counties," Corker said.
Indeed, FEMA began registering property owners Thursday for possible future assistance.
Also on Thursday, the Appalachian Regional Coalition on Homelessness (ARCH) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) began working with storm victims in the Camp Creek area.
On Monday, the Tennessee Department of Human Services will begin qualifying eligible persons for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (See related article on Page A-9).
Assessments of the damage by several agencies continue, Corker said.
Bill Brown, Greene County emergency management director, gave a preliminary estimate of property damage in Greene County of between $11 and $12 million.
Greene County and Washington County, where one man died on Guy Brown Road in the South Central community, are among Tennessee counties declared federal disaster areas by President Barack Obama.
"The Obama administration has been very responsive. We have no complaints," Corker said.
Housing remains a major concern of many storm victims.
FEMA and organizations like ARCH are able to provide temporary housing assistance in many cases. Corker said nothing is definite on supplying trailers or other kinds of housing to storm victims.
"That is something we're looking at," he said.
Among officials accompanying Corker was W. Montague Winfield, an Atlanta-based FEMA federal coordinating officer.
"It's not cost-effective to bring in mobile homes. We will pay them to go rent," Winfield said.
Corker encouraged storm victims to register for aid through FEMA and other organizations.
A fully staffed Disaster Recovery Center opened Thursday in the gymnasium at Camp Creek Elementary School.
"Additional aid will come to the area as soon as reassessments are done," Corker said. "We'll just continue to push these applications through as they come up."