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Relief funds dispersed to Bertie storm victims

WINDSOR – With the reported number of damaged homes growing, Bertie County local government is stepping in to provide some measure of financial assistance to those impacted last week by Hurricane Isaias, which included a deadly tornado.

As part of their scheduled workshop here Monday, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners devised a plan that will distribute money collected thus far in the Morning Road Tornado Relief Fund. As of Monday, that fund had collected approximately $24,000.

The local funds will be used to help Bertie citizens with a level of immediate assistance as county officials work with state and federal partners to address larger needs and long-range solutions.

As the hurricane approached the Roanoke-Chowan area, an EF-3 tornado, packing maximum winds of 140-145 mph, struck during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Aug. 4 in the Cedar Landing Road Community near Morning Road and Woodard Road. That area was the most seriously impacted with 26 homes totally destroyed. Two residents were killed and 16 were injured.

The commissioners, at Monday’s workshop, were informed that 237 homes countywide sustained damage to some degree. Other than the 26 that took a direct hit from the tornado, 95 have been deemed unlivable.

“We have to work immediately with those who were impacted the worse,” said Ron Wesson, Chairman of the Bertie Commissioners, at Monday’s workshop. “We’ve got to put something in their pocket while we work to see what’s available at the state/federal level.”

With assistance from the Self-Help Credit Union, where the Morning Road Tornado Relief Fund is established, those most impacted will be contacted to cash gift cards.

“We know this money is desperately needed right now by these families to cover food, temporary housing, and other personal assistance for themselves and their families. These are trying times, and this is hopefully the first of many rounds of relief that we can provide to our citizens most impacted,” Bertie County Manager Juan Vaughan, II said Tuesday.

“We know that more help is needed for our citizens, and our staff is working tirelessly to ensure that our citizens have access to as many relief options as possible,” stated Wesson. “This is only the disbursement of our first week’s funds raised, and we will continue to distribute additional funds as quickly as they are received and matched to the most urgent needs.”

“This relief fund was established to provide a secure and easy way for all citizens, friends, and businesses to help get their fellow citizens back on their feet as quickly as possible,” Commissioner Ernestine Bazemore said Tuesday.

Donations are still being accepted and can be made to the Morning Road Tornado Relief Fund via PayPal by going to paypal.me/BertieStrong. A donation button is also available on Bertie County’s website. They may also be made by personal check, payable and mailed to Bertie County, ATTN: Bertie County Morning Road Tornado Relief Fund, PO Box 530, Windsor, NC 27983.

This fund is the only county sanctioned and approved by the Bertie County Board of Commissioners for Tropical Storm Isaias and the Morning Road tornado.

Additionally, Bertie County local government is opening a Disaster Recovery Intake Center at the county’s Council on Aging office located at 103 West School Street in Windsor.

The Center will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Aug. 12-14, and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15.

There, county citizens impacted by Hurricane Isaias and its accompanying tornado will be able to receive information and assistance. If available, those citizens are asked to bring a photo ID, homeowner’s insurance information, or other proof of residency.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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