FEMA deadlines quickly approach for tornado victims

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has given Hamilton County Emergency Management a funding deadline of June 1 for debris removal in areas affected by Easter’s tornadoes.

With just days left, and dozens of houses still in need, officials are pleading with the community to volunteer.

Gladys McKee turned 100 years old Saturday. She built her house on Standifer Gap Road with her late husband, and was living there with her daughter Edna Camp when the Easter’s storm hit.

“Devastating isn’t even the word for it. It was the most frightening thing I think I’ve been through,” Camp said.

Insurance is handling repairs for the house. However, the amount of work needed to clear their expansive yard has been too much for McKee and Camp to handle by themselves.

“Pretty devastating to see all the trees she had line the property. They were almost all on the ground. And I didn’t know what in the world Mom and I were going to do to get that all up,” Camp said. “Thankfully, we had a volunteer come by a few days ago and asked if it was okay if they came in and cleaned up the yard for us, and I said, not only is it okay, but please do.”

According to the Volunteer Reception Center, forty houses still need help bringing debris to the side of the road for the city or county to pick up.

However, FEMA’s deadline for debris recovery is Monday. After that, all homeowners will have to hire a contractor to take the debris.

“Today is Thursday, and that’s Monday. We’re talking four days,” said Jojo Macatiag, director of Volunteer Reception Center. “The rain has dampened, literally dampened the efforts to try to get this debris to the road. And with that kind of time frame, with that many houses, there’s no way we’re going to be able to do it all.”

Trees still need to come down. Debris from backyards still need to be pulled to the street. Even simply raking the yard to allow landscapers back in is greatly needed.

“If you’re one of the lucky ones that didn’t have damage, you can’t imagine how grateful and thankful people might be if you could come and just give one day’s work would be wonderful,” Camp said.

“Anytime they want to come, I got plenty of work out there,” McKee said.

If you’d like to volunteer, or are a homeowner in need of assistance, you can call the Volunteer Reception Center at (423) 300-6592. Volunteers can also go to ihelpchattanooga.org to sign up online. The volunteer center will send volunteers in two shifts this weekend, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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