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Tornado victims counting on FEMA assistance; it's not coming

8 years 1 month 2 weeks ago Monday, May 02 2016 May 2, 2016 May 02, 2016 9:29 PM May 02, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ

ASSUMPTION PARISH - Two months after a tornado turned lives upside down, Assumption Parish residents have been told the damage wasn't bad enough for them to receive assistance from the federal government.

Construction crews are in the process of rebuilding homes, while others have been leveled.

"We lost everything," Terrance Williams told News 2's Brett Buffington. "Furniture, house, everything."

Williams is still weeks from returning from the home he built 15 years ago. It's being reconstructed while he and his family stay with relatives.

"It's a big change," he explains. "I've got kids, and they're always wondering when they are going to come back to this house."

Williams and others will have to do without assistance from FEMA. The federal government denied the state's appeal for federal disaster assistance, saying there was not enough widespread damage to declare a "disaster area".

According to the National Weather Service, the 13 tornadoes recorded across the southeastern part of Louisiana on February 23, 2016, marked the most tornadic activity ever recorded in such a short period of time in Louisiana.

Now victims like Williams and his family will have to find another way to get back on their feet.

"People depend on the federal government to take care of them, and when they don't, it's heartbreaking," Williams opines.

In a statement today Gov. John Bel Edwards said:

"We wanted to make every effort to get federal assistance for those impacted by this event. We felt the scope of their damage and recovery also overwhelmed the capacity of State and local resources. Unfortunately, FEMA did not agree with our assessment. Additionally, we felt a major disaster was necessary because of two other recent emergencies and to help us prepare for the start of the 2016 hurricane season."

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