Disaster News Network Print This
 

Miami awaits answer from feds

Nearly a month has passed since two Miami communities were slammed by a tornado, and residents are wondering when, or if, federal officials are going to kick in some cash.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | MIAMI | April 25, 2003


"We're just a little confused since we seem to have met the threshold."

—Jody Hill


Nearly a month has passed since two Miami communities were slammed by a tornado, and residents are wondering when, or if, federal officials are going to kick in some cash.

The State of Florida has already applied to the federal government for a disaster declaration, which would free up funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but so far no decision has been made.

Mike Stone, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Community Affairs, said his department is waiting on an answer any answer. Stone said that Small Business Administration loans will be made available once a decision is reached regardless of what the decision is. But a decision has to be made first.

"We haven't heard back yet," Stone said.

Meanwhile, people in Brownsville and Liberty City who were affected by the tornado are upset by the delay.

Tuesday, a few dozen people held a small demonstration outside the wrecked home of James White, a 65-year-old security guard and retired cop who was killed during the tornado.

Jody Hill, director of Florida Interfaiths Networking in Disaster, said the delayed decision is also holding up money from faith-based groups. Many of these organizations are waiting to see if it will be necessary for them to cut checks. If no federal disaster declaration is made, then they will likely have to step into the breach. But if federal money starts flowing, their money might be better spent on other disasters.

"We're just a little confused since we seem to have met the threshold," Hill said. "We're in limbo."

According to Hill, the damage from the tornado, which registered F2 on the Fujita scale, was significant.

Between 350 and 400 homes were damaged, she said; 60 of those homes have been "red-tagged," meaning that they are considered unsafe to live in and will have to be demolished. Another 68 homes were found to have "significant" damage.

Also, more than 100 homes have had their roofs temporarily patched by "Operation Cover Up," a volunteer effort organized by the Christian Contractors Association (CCA). The CCA, she said, brings together experienced contractors and construction workers, who provide free labor and expertise for disaster recovery.

The real challenge will be rebuilding the damaged and destroyed homes in this predominately low-income area, she said. Many of the homeowners did not have insurance, creating what she sees as an even more dire situation than central Florida experienced when tornados hit there in 1998.

"Without a (federal disaster) declaration there will be very few resources to sustain this community," Hill said. "We need lots of help."


Related Topics:

Wicked weather hits NE Texas

Tornado hits Michigan town

Tornadoes tear through Illinois and Midwest


More links on Tornadoes

Find this article at:

http://www.disasternews.net/news/article.php?articleid=1389

Advertisers:

DNN Sponsors include:

Advertisements: