Monday, May 30, 2011

Outrage as 'heartless' mayor refuses to let residents left homeless by tornadoes stay in FEMA trailers - 30th May 2011

A mayor in a small town devastated by a tornado has sparked outrage over his refusal to let homeless residents stay in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Jack Scott has been branded heartless after his decision not to waive a local law banning single-wide trailers in the town of Cordova, Alabama.

He said he fears the temporary accommodation could become permanent and says he doesn't want run-down mobile homes parked all over town.

Angry residents met on Saturday night and called for Mr Sciott's removal from office.

One resident, James Ruston, said his house was knocked off its foundation by the tornadoes that blasted through the town last month and is still uninhabitable.

He thought help had finally arrived when a truck pulled up to his property with a mobile home from FEMA.

Then he was informed of the ban on single-wide mobile homes.

Mr Ruston and many others see the city's decision as a sign that leaders don't care that some people are barely surviving in the rubble.

Felicia Boston, standing on a debris-strewn plot where a friend lost his home in the tornado, said: 'People have to live somewhere. What's it matter if it's in a trailer?'

Mr Scott, however, has heard all the complaints but is unrepentant.

He said: 'I don't feel guilty. I can look anyone in the eye.'

Blue-collar Cordova has a population of about 2,000 and is 35 miles north west of Birmingham.

It was hit by a pair of powerful tornadoes on April 27, the day twisters killed more than 300 people across the South east.

Officials say 238 died in Alabama, the highest death toll for any state in a spring of violent weather, the Associated Press reports.

An EF-3 tornado with winds of at least 140mph walloped the town around 5.30am, knocking out power and damaging numerous buildings.

An EF-4 with winds around 170mph struck about 12 hours later, killing four people and cutting a path of destruction a half-mile wide through Cordova.

On Main Street, virtually every storefront was destroyed and is now deserted, blocked by a chain-link fence. Read More