Federal and state officials are expected to be on the ground in Marion and Jones counties Monday to assess the damage following last week's deadly tornadoes. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, residents are continuing to clean up from the storms that struck two days before Christmas.
Four people died and 50 people were injured during the storms. A fifth person has since died from injuries sustained during the storm.
The worst of the property damage was in Marion County, where 108 homes and 43 businesses were destroyed or sustained major damage from an EF-3 tornado that struck Tuesday afternoon. In Jones County, an EF-2 tornado destroyed or damaged 12 homes and one business.
There’s a lot of debris," says Angie Grajeda, who is in charge of the American Red Cross’s response in both counties. "There’s a lot of work still to be done on clean-up. There’s a lot of crews out doing that clean-up. A lot of volunteers starting to show up. So the community is still very much rallying together, and just like any community after a disaster, starting to see what the picture of this is and begin to think about how they can move forward."
Jones County emergency management director Marda Tullos says county workers have been cleaning up trees and moving them off roads and right of ways. She says the county has also had an influx of volunteers, from all over, who are helping clean up the debris left by the storm.
“Everybody’s just been wonderful to help out," she says. "Especially here at Christmas, it really brings out the good in people – and any kind of disaster, it shows how people will – how good they are and that they will come out and want to help their neighbors and even people they don’t know. It’s just the goodness in their heart, and we so much appreciate that.”
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says one business in Lamar County also sustained major damage.