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Insurance paperwork underway along with tornado clean-up in hard hit Selma

Severe Weather Explainer
Butch Dill/AP
FR111446 AP
Mel Gilmer surveys the damage to his business after a tornado passed through downtown Selma, Ala., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. Gilmer took shelter in the bathroom as the tornado hit. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Insurance paperwork is the latest job for Alabamians dealing with last week’s massive tornado. State Farm, AllState, and Farmers Insurance are among the companies setting up temporary locations at the local WalMart, Winn Dixie, and the Selma Mall. There are also promises of federal help, as well. APR collaborates with the Selma Sun newspaper. Alabama’s newly elected U.S. Senator Katie Britt says Washington will be there as Selma rebuilds following the tornado…

“That means we have to work together to make sure people get back on their feet, and there’s a pathway forward,” said Senator Britt.

The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Selma had winds of over one hundred miles per hour. Alabama’s tornado death toll was in neighboring Autauga County. The storm uprooted trees, sent mobile homes airborne, derailed a freight train, flipped cars, cracked utility poles and downed power lines, leaving thousands without electricity. Suspected tornado damage was reported in at least 14 counties in Alabama and 14 counties in Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. Early Sunday, President Biden declared a major disaster in Alabama and ordered federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in affected areas. Senator Britt echoed Biden’s pledge of support..

State, and Farmers Insurance are among the companies setting up temporary locations at the local WalMart, Winn Dixie, and the Selma Mall. Both the White House and Congress are promising help after the tornado that destroyed property and injured around two dozen people. APR collaborates with the Selma Sun newspaper. Newly elected U.S. Senator Katie Britt says relief is coming…

“To community who is effected by this, know that we stand with you for today, tomorrow, and for as long as it takes to make your whole,” said Britt.

The Sunday after a tornado devastated much of the historic city of Selma, church congregations raised up prayers of gratitude for lives spared and prayers of comfort for lives lost elsewhere to the storm that tore across the South. The tornado destroyed the daycare at Crosspoint Christian Church, but the seventy children inside were unharmed after workers got them inside the bathrooms. Many thanks to the Selma Sun and the Black Belt News Network for their help on this story.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
Alabama Public Radio is proud to collaborate with the Selma Sun and its publishers Cindy Fisher, Brad Fisher, and Debrah Fisher. Past stories have included the renovation of the St James Hotel, the rescue of historic homes in Selma, and the announcement of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act by Congresswoman Terri Sewell at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge
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