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County storm victims receive $167,000

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had paid $167,195.85 to Morgan County victims of the April 27 tornadoes as of Thursday, May 26, according to numbers released this week.

Eddie Hicks, director of the Morgan County Emergency Management Agency, announced the figures as part of a storm recovery status report he gave to Morgan County Commissioners at an adjourned meeting.

He said of the total $95,588.50 represented housing assistance grants and the reminder was for other needs.

“FEMA has received 2,134 applications for assistance to date,” he pointed out, “and the recovery process is continuing. Anyone who had a loss as a result of the storm is eligible to apply for help. All you have to do is fill out a FEMA application to substantiate your loss.

“I would encourage anyone who has had an application denied to read the rejection letter carefully,” he added. “It may have been rejected because the forms were not filled out properly. If that’s the case, don’t give up. Consult family members or friends for help. In addition, Neal Morrison, director of the North-Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments, has said his staff will offer assistance to people needing help to complete the forms.”

“The help is there,” said Commission Chairman Ray Long, “and our aim is to make sure that everyone who is eligible gets the help they deserve.”

“You can go on line as get the application forms,” District 4 Commissioner Greg Abercrombie reminded storm victims who have not already filled out an application for help. “But every line on every form has to be filled out; otherwise, the process ends.”

Hicks also pointed out that his office has more volunteers than requests for the recovery in Morgan County. “We’ve been sending volunteers to Lawrence County. If you need volunteers, call 211 and file a request.”

The commission passed a resolution authorizing the removal of storm debris from residential driveways and next to houses to meet a requirement of the Corps of Engineers.

“This will give a contractor a right of entry to private property,” he pointed out. “The cleanup will begin immediately and will probably last about 30 days.” County equipment and personnel will not be involved.