Rebuilding Smithville: One Year After The TornadoBy Sandra Knispel | Published 27 Apr 2012 10:04am |
Today, exactly one year ago, an EF-5 tornado destroyed two-thirds of Smithville, killing 16 residents. MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports on the slow recovery process.
[Nat sound building, hammering]
Reconstruction takes time, a lot of time… as Mississippi coast residents found out after Hurricane Katrina and now the small town of Smithville. A year after the tornado reduced two-thirds of this small town to rubble, rebuilding, like here at Smithville Hardware and General Merchandise, has been slow.
“It’s not as fast as we would like, I’m sure. People say, ‘My goodness, it’s been a year. We don’t have this, we don’t have this.’ And my response is always, ‘Hey, it’s just been a year and look at where we are!’ “
That’s Michelle Bond, the town’s disaster recovery manager.
“We are clean. We have a community out there that is almost completely slab free. We have businesses back, we have gas stations, we have a pizzeria, we have a diner. We have Access Family, our medical clinic, back. Our martial arts place is back. We have all kinds of businesses that have already come back.”
But the road to recovery is long. A year later, large stretches of Smithville remain empty, as if wiped off the face of the earth.
Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Smithville.
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