Video: Ethelsville Residents Turn to Neighbors For Assistance
ETHELSVILLE, Ala. (WCBI) — Some areas of West Alabama that were hit by tornadoes two weeks ago now find themselves falling through the cracks when it comes to federal and state disaster assistance. But residents are turning to their friends and neighbors to help each other get back on their feet when they can. They are grateful their neighborhoods weren’t hit as hard as others across the region.
Two weeks to the day, Ethelsville resident Mary Latham surveyed extensive damages to trees and a utility building on her property.
“Totally knocked the whole back wall off. A pecan tree fell on it is what caused it to do it. I had 8 pecan trees, I only have one left standing which is right there,” said Latham.
After striking eastern Lowndes County, the EF1 tornado continued into West Alabama, cutting a path through the area of Tabernacle and Bain roads at Bettys Cove in Ethelsville. But the structural damages and downed trees don’t add up to the amount necessary for assistance from FEMA. Some victims do have insurance but even that may not be enough.
“It’s supposed to be insured, but what they offered me to begin with is unreal for the damages that I have,” said Latham.
And now disaster victims who are not financially well off are left waiting and wondering when, and if, they’ll have the resources to totally recover.
Oh well, I’m trying not to complain because the Lord spared my life and I didn’t get injured. Did you understand what I’m saying. And that’s important. So I’m trying not to complain,” said Latham.
In order to be declared a federal disaster area, a county must have at least $8 million in damage. FEMA says neither Pickens or Lamar counties have reached those thresholds.