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Tornado damage fails to generate federal aid

AULANDER – No state or federal help is coming.

Bertie County Emergency Management Coordinator Rickey Freeman confirmed Friday afternoon that Bertie County will not be included in any request that may come from North Carolina Governor Mike Easley following a coastal storm that made landfall in Wilmington. There has been no request of any kind from the governor to date based on that storm.

“We had hoped to be able to tie the tornado in Aulander with the damage done by the coastal storm, but there simply wasn’t enough damage,” Freeman said. “We made an attempt, but no declaration has been made.”

Aulander and the outlying community on Dunning Road in Hertford County suffered damages on Friday, September 26 from a low category tornado. The tornado (registered as an EF-0) did not touch down, but did cause damage to homes on Bell Street and Elm Street in Aulander.

One home was damaged heavily during the storm and several others suffered minor problems. The Bertie County Tax Office released a damage estimate of $25,000 for five mobile homes and two structures.

Hertford County Emergency Management Director Charles Jones said damages in the Dunning Road area could reach $50,000 because two structures were completely destroyed.

Freeman said that lack of a federal disaster declaration meant home owners in Aulander would have to rely on insurance or other non-governmental agencies.

“The Small Business Administration and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) won’t come in,” Freeman said. “The victims will have to rely on insurance or seek help from agencies such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army.”