Long-Term Assistance For Tornado Victims - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Long-Term Assistance For Tornado Victims

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HATTIESBURG, MS -

   If receiving FEMA assistance or a small business administration loan isn't enough, there is long-term assistance available for victims of the tornado.

   The Pine Belt Community Foundation is set to help thousands affected by the February 10th twister with money from a long term recovery fund.

   According to the foundation more than 14-hundred homes were destroyed.

   Donations to the community disaster fund will be distributed by the long term recovery committee headed by the R3SM Foundation.

   So far about 125-thousand dollars has been donated for relief efforts.

   Executive director of R3SM says, "a long term recovery organization like R3SM is designed to be in place, get information that's available from FEMA, then we pick up where they left off."

   Recover, rebuild, restore Southeast Mississippi. That's what R3SM stands for.

   Varnado says the long term recovery group is helping those who have lost homes during the February tornado. "After FEMA leaves after MEMA leaves, the community itself has got to have the ability to continue the work, figure out who needs help."

   The organization is helping victims in Lamar, Forrest and Perry counties. Varnado says the money will go to those who can't help recover on their own. "Maybe they had no insurance or they were under insured or didn't get enough money from FEMA if any at all."

   Before contacting R3SM, Varnado suggests that tornado victims register at the disaster recovery center at the Ben McNair center in Hattiesburg while FEMA is still here.

   Officials from the Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross are all a part of the Unmet Needs Committee. Varnado says, "They will hear the needs and then they will vote on whether or not the community should step in and help this person recover."

   R3SM needs volunteers from the area to help the community get back on its feet.

   "Repairing houses, rebuilding houses, once the home is repair or rebuilt if all of their belongings were destroyed probably looking to do replacement furniture or appliances."

    For information about R3SM long term recovery you can call 601-544-5115 to talk to recovery specialists and case managers.

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