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It isn’t over when the storm passesIt isn’t over when the storm passes

Recovery after a tornado takes weeks, months and sometimes years.

Brent Murphree

April 18, 2023

2 Min Read
Storm Damage
Storm damage from the March 31 storm in Tipton County, Tenn. Homes and businesses have been destroyed by spring tornados throughout the Midsouth.Brent Murphree

Five days after the tornado blew through the town of Covington, Tenn., I drove through the storm damage looking to take a photograph for an article on storm recovery. I wasn’t prepared for the destruction.

The tornado was not huge, but the disruption of lives in the line of the storm has been monumental. Homes were destroyed, businesses disrupted, and education put at a standstill.

Five days later, people were still roaming through destroyed buildings sorting out their lives. Repair crews were putting up downed power lines and communications were slowly starting to come back online.

Life will not be back to normal for a long time, even with the help of so many helpful souls who have come to the aid of those who were hit.

Covington is certainly not the only place that continues to need help.

In Rolling Fork, Miss., the community still needs assistance after the entire town was twisted and scattered. Shortly after that storm I saw GoFundMe sites pop up to help businesses in the area. The goals have not all been met at this time, but the funds are building.

With that said, these areas, including towns in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas still need your help to rebuild.

While GoFundMe is a way to get funds directly to a particular site or family, it does not guarantee that all funds will go to recovery efforts. Contributors need to have a great deal of discernment when donating on that site or any others that funnel money directly to individuals.

On the ground donation sites have noted that particular items are no longer needed after the initial influx of contributions, so check with local donation centers to see what is really needed.

The following is a list of often overlooked but vital necessities after weather emergencies: bottled water, canned goods, paper products, pet food, diapers and wipes, manual can openers, baby formula, personal hygiene items, pet carriers, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies

State emergency management teams – including the state public safety organizations and agriculture departments - are usually good places to find out what is needed most in a particular area.

And of course, organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse are great resources during these times.

Unfortunately, the insurance nightmare for many people will now go on at length. Tornado insurance is expensive here in the Midsouth.

I couldn’t help but cringe when a truck with the name of a big insurance company rolled through town. I could imagine the months of finagling that will take place between those impacted and the adjusters.

However, the stories I’ve heard in this area about feeding and housing those who were hit by the storm have been uplifting and inspirational – neighbors and strangers helping those in need.

Those stories give me hope for humanity.

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