Disaster Relief Aid For Madison County

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Madison County District Clerk Joyce Batson says last Friday's tornado caused extensive damage to her home and barn. Batson says before the twister, she had ten oak trees. Now, she has two standing.

Her home's chimney and car port are all scattered throughout her family's property. She says it could have been worse and even tragic. That's because her husband was in the house at the time.

Their family is fortunate. They will be able to rebuild in time.

"We hope maybe three months to be back in there," Batson said.

Along the tornado's path, damage can be easily seen, and it will take financial resources for all of Madison County to get back to normal. Newly-elected County Judge Arthur Henson has been working with other county officials to assess a dollar figure on the amount of damages throughout his county.

But the preliminary results aren't what they they were hoping for. Denise Landry, who is Madison County's Emergency Management Coordinator, says according to the state's criteria, Madison County is not eligible to receive state disaster relief aid to help rebuild.

"As catastrophic as it is and unfortunate for the families, we just do not fall into that," Landry said.

According to Landry, in order to qualify Madison County would have to have at least $22 million-plus worth of damage to the infrastructure. And the county would have to document at least 40-plus uninsured homes had been destroyed by the tornado.

Landry said, "The majority of our disaster homes that have been either wiped out or major, major destruction have insurance."

Even though initial results suggest the county won't receive disaster relief aid, county officials are still working with state agencies to try and find other state resources that Madison County could qualify for.