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Published On: Mon, Nov 19th, 2012

Year and half after tornado, Alabama seeks help, blames FEMA

2011 was a rough year in Alabama as a series of tornadoes ripped through the state killing over 250 people.

Sadly, the piles of rubble, the broken glass and battered buildings are still standing, shaken by the storms.

tornado which struck the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama during the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. photo NWS Huntsville

One entire downtown area was deemed unsafe remains. City officials blame the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying the money to demolish skeletons of the old buildings is mired in miles of red tape.

When one request for photos or historical documentation is met, FEMA makes another, the mayor and others in this town of 2,100 say. One crop of workers is replaced by another, forcing locals to constantly explain their problems to new people.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Mayor Drew Gilbert tells The Washington Post, a 25-year-old Cordova native who served on the City Council before taking office this month. “You would think it’s been touched and seen now by everyone who needs to touch and see it.”

FEMA officials say they’re only doing their job in Cordova, documenting damaged buildings and covering all the details before providing money to tear them down.

“This project involves demolition of multiple historically significant structures and requires that FEMA consider all pertinent environmental and historic preservation laws before funding the project,” the agency said in response to questions from The Associated Press.

“I think FEMA needs to give their people in the field more latitude,” said Elizabeth Brown, preservation officer for the Alabama Historical Commission. “It seems things have to keep going back up the chain.”

Alabama Tornado April 27, 2011. photo Wjalex4

 

 

The entire one-block downtown, still deemed unsafe, remains sealed off by a chain-link fence. On April 27, 2011, dozens of tornadoes ripped across the southeast, spawned by freakish weather. Hundreds were killed and thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, causing more than $1 billion in damage.

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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