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Tornado clean-up intensifies in Claiborne County | News

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Tornado clean-up intensifies in Claiborne County


It's been a little more than a week since an EF-3 tornado touched down in Claiborne County, destroying ten homes and a grocery store that stood in it's path.

Since then, emergency and clean-up crews have been working non-stop.

"This is definitely the worst amount of damage we have had in the county. We've had 6 tornadoes in the last 5 years. Most of those were ruled EF-1's. This was ruled an EF-3. Thankfully it wasn't in a highly populated area," said David Breeding, Claiborne County's Emergency Management Director.

Now, local workers are getting some outside help.

A state task force consisting of ten different government agencies hit the streets early Monday morning to begin the cleanup process.

"It's a situation where the local government has requested assistance after an emergency to clean up an overwhelming amount of debris situations. This is what the state can do to support local government," said David Purkey, TEMA's Interim Director.

Between local and state agencies, as well as volunteer organizations, nearly 200 people are working on the debris mission in Claiborne and Campbell counties.

"This will help the community to be able to start healing faster. Once we get this all out of the way, hopefully by the end of the week, they can start working on some of the homes that were destroyed and get the community back on it's feet as soon as possible," said Purkey.

One of those volunteer organizations is the Southern Baptist Convention, who has volunteered to serve meals to the crews for free.

"The community depends on people like us because when disasters happen like this, they are traumatized. In a way, it's hard for them to help themselves. This is something that we felt we wanted to do in the mission field," said Bonnie Manning of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Debris removal teams will be divided into four task forces and they plan on working all week long.

"Our goal is to provide relief to the citizens of these counties. To take one less thing they will have to deal with," said TEMA's Regional Director, Bill Worth.


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