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State details total aid issued to McDuffie and Warren counties following March tornado

This Thursday marks 193 days since a tornado struck portions of McDuffie and Warren counties, causing extensive residential and commercial damages.

Luckily, no one was killed or seriously injured in either of the local counties. There were a number of people who received what officials described as minor injuries.

After the tornado struck with devastating results, many of the counties affected in Georgia were declared emergency disaster areas by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. That made them eligible to receive state assistance. It wasn't until those same counties were declared Presidential Disaster Areas that they became eligible for federal assistance.

"We've already received our portions from both the state and federal levels," McDuffie County Manager Don Norton said. "I was pleased with the quick response by both state and federal governments to reimburse us for the tornado damages."As for the repairs, "I think we're all caught up," Mr. Norton added.

A press release from Gov. Perdue's office last Wednesday indicated that 13 counties which were hit by tornadoes on March 1 have received a total of $27.9 million in state and federal assistance.

About $17 million of the total figure was spent on debris removal, disaster-related emergency services, as well as repairs or reconstruction damaged infrastructure in those Peach State counties. Those counties included: McDuffie, Warren, Baker, Clay, Crawford, Hancock, Mitchell, Muscogee, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Webster and Wilkinson.

Federal aid of more than $1.3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency went to individuals and households, whose dwellings were badly damaged or destroyed. McDuffie and Warren counties were included in the counties receiving that assistance, too.

Another $9.5 million in low-interest disaster loans were made through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners, renters and business people, who also were victims of the tornado damages.

The worst two McDuffie County businesses included Hoover Wood Products and Thomson Box Company. The McDuffie County Board of Education central office in Thomson also sustained significant damage.

A number of homes in the Hickory Hills subdivision, as well as in the Pylant Crossing area, Mesena Road area and portions of Cobbham Road and Martin Luther King Street also were badly damaged or destroyed.

In neighboring Warren County, a number of homes - several of them doublewide mobile homes - were substantially damaged. One single-wide mobile home, located off Camak Road, was completely destroyed.

The campus of Briarwood Academy also received heavy tornado damage - the storm causing roof damages to several school buildings, as well as destroying both the baseball and football scoreboards.

Repairs still are being made at the school, located just inside Warren County, near the McDuffie County line.

In McDuffie County, total individual assistance amounted to $114,759.24, according to figures released from the governor's office. Total individual assistance in Warren County was $80,715.47.

Officials with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) were responsible for coordinating state government's role as a result of the tornado. McDuffie County was led by EMA Chief Bruce Tanner, while EMA Chief Tommy Wolfe led Warren County.

Web posted on Thursday, September 13, 2007

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