Federal and state agencies aid Lee County tornado victims

Federal and state agencies aid tornado victims in Lee County

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - Clean-up efforts in Lee County continue nearly one week after the EF-3 tornado ripped through the Salem/Crawford community early Tuesday morning.

Now the federal government is stepping in to help recovery efforts.

"We do have a federal declared disaster, which basically the best news about that is it means monetary relief to those who were affected from the federal government," explains Rita Smith of the Lee County Emergency Management Agency.

Victims need to call 1-800-621-FEMA to register and as soon as possible to be able to get the help they need. You can also visit www.disasterassistance.gov.

The Lee County EMA says the Volunteer Reception Center closed Monday, but the Disaster Recovery Center, or the DRC, will open its doors soon in Lee County.

"For the folks that were affected, it's a variety of services offered in one building, from SBA loans to housing, to monetary assistance. All of that is one location for them to go to," says Smith. For those getting over the shock of the damage and trying to get back on their feet, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System has published a disaster guide online to help people rebuild their family, home or business.

"We have generated county specific disaster packets for every county in the state. It will allow people to have information available for everything from how to handle water safety, chainsaw safety, handle snakes in flood water, and reconstructing poultry barns," explains Dr. Gary Lemme of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Their easy to read guides and video can be found at www.aces.edu or through you county Extension Agent.

"Once a disaster like this hits your first reaction is shock, but then as soon as the shock wears off you start to figure out what to do next," says Lemme. "That is when you need that kind of information and that's why we provide that information in a readily available form."

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