Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom late Monday issued a Declaration of a Local State of Disaster following the tornado that slashed through northern parts of the county Thursday night.
According to the declaration, the county has determined that extraordinary measures must be taken to alleviate the suffering of people and to protect or rehabilitate property.
Although the county is providing assistance by loading debris into dumpsters, there are many people in need of more help, Newsom said.
“It just simply frees up the commissioners, especially those in the northern part of the county, and their crews to be able to go onto private property, if necessary, to assist the public,” the county judge said. “Legally, no commissioner is supposed to use public funds or equipment for a private purpose except under this emergency declaration. That's why the commissioners court felt it necessary to go ahead and issue the disaster declaration.”
According to a preliminary Red Cross survey, as many as 76 homes were damaged by the storm, seven of them severely damaged. The storm also resulted in one child sustaining a minor injury.
Newsom said his office would be attempting to secure state and federal grants to help in the recovery from the tornado.
Thursday night's tornado in Birthright marked the third time in the past 108 years the community has been hit. The first was in 1906 and the second came in the 1950s.
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