Nearly two months after tornadoes struck, residents in Pickens County wait to rebuild

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ALICEVILLE, Ala. (WBMA) — Almost two months after 75 people in the Sapps community were displaced by tornadoes, many are still not able to return. Despite this fact, February’s storms in Pickens County did not inflict enough damage to require monetary aid from FEMA according to Congresswoman Terri Sewell.

On Tuesday, Sewell held a meeting in Aliceville with local and state EMA officials and leaders of community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to see what other funds could be available. The meeting was closed to the public to allow for “sensitive topics” to be discussed according to Sewell’s spokesman. “So many of the people that were devastated did not have insurance and so we are really calling on our non-for-profit, our faith based community to come in and fill that gap,” said Sewell.

Most houses still standing on Sapps Rd. bare the characteristic blue tarps where roofs once were. A handful have been able to rebuild on their own, others have not been as fortunate.

Willie Phillips was one of the residents whose home was not insured. His children have had to live 15 miles away while he waits to rebuild. Phillips is leery of using a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration which he says would require him to give up the deed to his house. He hopes community organizations will be able to help give him the money he needs,”I would like to see the base of it going up. I’ll be satisfied then I’ll make every effort to do what I need to do on my own.” Until then all these residents in Pickens County can do is wait.

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Kyrie Wagner

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