Local Emergency Management officials said that by 4 p.m. Saturday, February 9, the search for everyone on a list of over two hundred missing had been completed, and everyone in Macon County was now accounted for, following a third, house to house, road by road intensive search on Saturday
"We are now in the full scale 'clean up mode'," continued Scruggs, who said 132 National Guard troops were in the field with 40 pieces of heavy equipment; the state DOT had numerous employees and 40 pieces of equipment in the field; and 20 Forestry Service personnel were working with chain saws to clear fallen trees in the most heavily struck areas.
"Volunteers are coming in in droves to sign up, but we need to wait until mid-week before we can let private individuals or groups out in the most severely damaged areas," continued Scruggs, who is both Emergency Management Director for the county, and LFD Fire Chief.
By Wednesday or Thursday of this week, Scruggs expected a huge volunteer clean up effort could be mounted. Persons and groups wishing to join in the clean-up are urged to contact Billy Fields, TEMA Volunteer Coordinator at 666-9377 or 666-9378.
"By mid-week at the earliest we will announce when we can begin a massive volunteer clean up effort that will continue for several days. At that time everyone and all their cousins can come out and help," said Fields Sunday afternoon. Until then, for safety reasons, the clean up effort is being conducted by heavy equipment operated by professionals.
A drop off center for cleaning supplies, and non-perishable food goods has been set up at the old Dollar General Store location across from the post office on Ellington Drive. Fields stressed that there was no need for donated clothing, or bread or other perishable foodstuffs.
The American Red Cross has set up a drop off center for non-perishable goods at the Sears Building next to Save-a-Lot on the Hwy. 52 Bypass-east. A Red Cross counseling center is also in operation at the same location.
"I'D LIKE TO STRESS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS for people who have lost their homes and possessions to register at the FEMA command center at the National Guard Armory," said Chief Scruggs.
The latest damage assessment in Macon County lists 194 houses destroyed by the storm; 63 with severe structural damage; and 54 with enough damage to render them uninhabitable. An additional 118 homes have been determined to be severely damaged, but structurally sound.
However, all of those are still without electricity, as are several thousand other customers in the storm effected west and northern part of the county.
Between 40 and 60 families have been staying at the National Guard Armory in Lafayette. An estimated 257 households are homeless, but many are staying with family and friends.
Roofing tarps, generators and other emergency supplies are available for those who can remain in their homes with the available emergency assistance on hand.
Informed but unofficial sources told the Times late Saturday morning that search dogs had located the body of one additional fatality, in the Akersville Road/Williams area, bringing the death toll back to fourteen. One person's name had been removed from the list Friday, as that victim's death had been determined to have been due to natural or other causes not related to Tuesday night's tornado.
[Look to our Weekly Updates for a list of agencies and contact numbers for relief and assistance being offered to storm victims].
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