Pike County Tornado Victims Need Help With Long-Term Recovery


By Brittany Bivins


It's been almost three weeks since two tornadoes touched down, damaging or destroying 52 homes on Christmas Day. Now Pike County EMA officials say they're moving from emergency relief efforts to long-term recovery.

Pike County EMA officials say a new Unmet Needs Committee will begin to work next week with storm victims around the county providing assistance with furniture, appliances and long-term shelter.

Today you can see progress at Brantley Mobile Home Park in Troy where an EF-2 tornado damaged or destroyed eleven mobiles homes on Christmas Day, but the families who lived here still can't come back.

"A lot of people are trying to come out, trying to get stuff that they can salvage, like their clothes and stuff, but other than that, they're just trying to salvage what they can," said Tom Watling.

This week, the small business administration approved low-interest loans for disaster victims. but not everyone thinks it will help. "It being on a loan, I don't think it will help as much, because you have to end up paying it back in the long run, and a lot folks, like I say, lost everything," said Johnny Owens.

So groups like the unmet needs committee are stepping in to fill the needs. "If they've got everything they need except a stove or something like that, then the unmet needs committee perhaps can buy them a stove. We probably will not have enough money to replace a mobile home for anybody, but perhaps we can get up enough money for a down payment so they can finance the rest of it, maybe through the SBA or whatever means they desire," said Lawrence Bowden, the Unmet Needs Committee Chair

To do that, though, they'll need donations from the community, and residents at Brantley Mobile Home Park say they need all the help they can get. "I think they should care because it could happen to them one day and they could lose everything, and by them helping, it will go a long ways," said Owens.

If you want to help, you can donate money through Brundidge United Methodist Church by calling 735-3180. You can also reach Lawrence Bowden at 735-3898 or 372-0335 or Michael Lawler at 735-3180 or 798-9913.

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