Limited staff slowing Autauga County tornado recovery, EMA says

Even after five months, the memories of a tornado that tore through Autauga County are fresh on people's minds.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 10:10 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Damaged roofs and piles of branches are still along Autauga County Road 68 nearly five months after a deadly EF3 tornado.

Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Weaver said about 50-60% of the debris in the area has been picked up. He says staffing is limited.

“Engineering is understaffed right now and they’re trying their best to dedicate a day, a week, to do that,” Weaver said. “It’s just they have to maintain the roads. They have to do their regular work as well.”

He said he believes it could be December before all the debris is up.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the county’s deadline to clean up. It was previously set for July 15.

“There was no way that that was going to happen,” Weaver said.

The EMA director said they are dealing with FEMA paperwork daily. It is a part of the lengthy process of getting reimburse. And with only three EMA staff members, it is a big undertaking.

“You’re talking about a massive amount of paperwork,” he said.

He said they are prepared to do it, adding the county has likely spent around $90,000, not counting debris removal costs.

It is not just the county. Many individuals are in need of financial help. A disaster relief fund was created for residents with storm damage. Weaver said of 42 applicants, around 40 should be getting money real soon.

“Within the next week or so, maybe up to two weeks, we can finalize that,” Weaver said.

The EMA director is reminding the public that tornado recovery is a process and does not happen overnight.

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