Help offered for storm victims

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2008

LEWISTON – The damage from Sunday’s tornados in Bertie County is done, but now where can the storm victims turn for help?

Cleanup is already underway here, even as county assessment teams are still looking for unreported damage.

A couple of local businesses have opened their doors as shelters for those displaced from their homes by storm damage, including Mt. Olive Church on Governor’s Road about three miles outside of Lewiston.

Sunday evening, the Bertie County Resource Center in Lewiston allowed a few storm victims to stay there for the night and director Vivian Saunders reportedly served breakfast to several more in the morning.

A command center has been set up at the Lewiston Fire Department, where various emergency responders, county officials and disaster relief workers are congregating.

&uot;We are doing everything that we can at this point to accommodate those were affected by the storms,&uot; stated County Manager Zee Lamb during a press conference held Monday morning.

American Red Cross workers have come in and are working to aid storm victims, as well as county employees and community volunteers.

There are canvas tarps in stock available through the county’s emergency management department as well as some that were shipped in from the state.

&uot;Those can be used to temporarily patch minor holes in roofs,&uot; explained Bertie County Emergency Management Coordinator Rickey Freeman.

Long-term needs for shelter are still being assessed at this point, according to Lamb.

&uot;We’re waiting for further assessment before we will know if the state or the feds will come in,&uot; he stated.

Currently, around 40-50 people are working on the storm damage aftermath and helping those affected by the tornados.

&uot;The EMS people here in county and state have really responded according to protocol; everyone is working as hard as they can to alleviate the pain and displacement that our residents feel at the moment,&uot; Lamb told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in a later phone interview.

He continued, &uot;The Red Cross is here helping individuals and everybody is organized and is doing their assigned task.

We’re just trying to do everything we can to help those who need the assistance of disaster relief services.&uot;

Requests for aid or damage reports can be made by calling command center headquarters in Lewiston at (252) 348-2658 during daytime hours.

After hours, contact the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 794-5330.