A month after deadly Kentucky tornadoes, many still homeless

Southeast

FILE – In a view from this aerial photo, people stand amidst destruction from a recent tornado in downtown Mayfield, Ky., Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Gov. Andy Beshear signed tornado-relief legislation Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, to provide an immediate infusion of aid for schools and residents left homeless by deadly storms that hit Kentucky last month. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

MAYFIELD, Ky. (NewsNation Now) — It’s been a little more than a month since the deadly tornadoes in Mayfield, Kentucky, but many residents are still homeless, and much of the debris has still not been picked up.

Almost 400 people are living in state parks six weeks after the tornadoes, which killed at least 88 people in five states and caused widespread destruction. In Mayfield, the twister was categorized with an EF4 damage rating by the National Weather Service, with maximum winds of 190 mph.

So far, only 4% of the debris has been cleared from the area, NewsNation’s Rudabeh Shahbazi, who has been on the ground reporting on this situation, said, adding that huge debris piles were everywhere in the area.

Although federal aid was immediate and sailed easily through the state legislature as well, rebuilding will take a long time, with officials expecting a yearslong recovery process.

“I’m proud that we’ve all worked together to respond to meet the needs of these families,” Gov. Andy Beshear said before signing tornado-relief legislation earlier this month. “But we know that it’s going to take a long time — a year, maybe two — to not just dig out but to rebuild.”

One tornado survivor, Jasmine Parrott, is still having a hard time getting back to normal.

She was relaxing at home when the storms started, and took shelter in her bathtub.

“I got down, covered my head,” Parrott previously told NewsNation.

The power went out then, which is when Parrott said she knew something was going to happen. She heard a loud noise, like a train, and suddenly, her bathtub flipped over and she kept rolling over. After being swept up into the storm, Parrott woke up in the woods, badly injured and bleeding, with so much debris in her eye she could barely see.

When NewsNation caught up with her recently, Parrott said she still can’t walk or work — and she doesn’t even want to be in Mayfield anymore.

Those still rebuilding from the tornadoes can get free advice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in Bowling Green and Mayfield. FEMA is offering to answer questions, give tips on home improvement and ways to reduce damage in the future, and pointers for rebuilding hazard-resistant homes.

Locations for FEMA consultations will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Jan. 29, but will be closed on Wednesday.

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