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US Government Begins To Spend On Tornado Recovery

By Paul Tuthill


Springfield, MA – The U.S.Government has opened the checkbook to help people in Massachusetts directly affected by the June First tornadoes. Money has been paid out to individuals and businesses. People who lost their jobs as a result of the storms will soon get help. WAMC"s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has paid out a total of 2 point 2 million dollars to individuals in just the two weeks since President Obama issued the disaster declaration because of the tornadoes. The Small Business Administration has loaned a total of 57 thousand dollars.
Among those taking the measure of the government response on the one month anniversary of the tornadoes was U.S. Senator Scott Brown.
Brown also praised the US Department of Labor for providing three million dollars to create temporary jobs in storm clean up and repair.
On his third visit to Springfield since the June first storms, Brown and Springfield's Mayor Domenic Sarno walked several streets in the Six Corner's Neighborhood..one of 8 Springfield neighborhoods that sustained damage.. Most of the houses left standing have plywood covering the windows and blue tarps for roofs . Repairs were underway to some of the homes..
Brown said it could a year before the tornado price tag is known.. Insurance claims have so far totaled over 170 million dollars, according to state officials.
The big bills for the federal government will come when the 19 Massachusetts communities that saw tornado damage seek reimbursement for the costs of tree and debris removal and for other eligible expenses such as public safety overtime. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno figures the city spent 8 million dollars on the emergency response and tens of millions of dollars on debris removal, which is still going on.
FEMA opened 8 disaster relief centers in Massachusetts two weeks ago. FEMA spokesman Daniel Llargues says over three thousand people have registered to have inspectors check their property to determine if they qualify for help..
The SBA can make federal disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes according to spokesperson Yvette Jeffrey.
Jeffrey said the SBA has made only three disaster loans in Massachusetts so far. She said it appears people are waiting to settle with insurance companies first, but she cautioned there is an August 15th deadline for people to apply for disaster loans.