PERRY COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - If you were planning on volunteering to help with tornado debris clean-up in Perryville this weekend, there's been a change of plans.
Because of the forecast, all organized Perry County volunteer tornado debris removal efforts are canceled.
Volunteers are asked to plan on working the weekend of March 17-18.
Despite the brief cancellation, cleanup and is still underway in as the community and service organizations rally to assist the families affected by the E-F4 tornado that ripped through the area late last month.
Emergency Management Director Hank Voelker said a number of homes were impacted by the storm that left a path of destruction more than 13 miles long, affecting homeowners in the city of Perryville, as well as rural county homes.
"The next phase is making sure those affected by the storm receive the services they need to recover from the losses they've suffered," Voelker said. "A number of agencies and charitable groups will be working in tandem to ensure the needs of the impacted individuals are met."
According to official reports, roughly 110 properties were damaged by the tornado. Officials say between 60 and 70 of those homes are uninhabitable or destroyed, with the remaining homes being significantly damaged. Voelker stressed it was imperative that all of those property owners impacted by the tornado register with the American Red Cross to ensure eligibility for services in the coming weeks and months of recovery.
"Even if you think you don't need assistance, we still need you to register with the Red Cross," Voelker said.
All homeowners impacted by the storm can register with the American Red Cross by calling (314)-516-2700, ext. 4.
Local tornado relief help-lines have also been established through the University of Missouri Extension office in Perryville. Frank Wideman, Natural Resource Engineer for Perry County and the Southeast Region and other MU Extension staff are coordinating volunteer cleanup crews to service home and property owners in need of additional manpower to clear their acreage of debris.
"We are taking calls from those who want to help, and pairing them with those who have asked for help," Wideman said during a Thursday morning briefing.
Tornado-impacted property owners in need of assistance can call the MU Extension in Perryville at (573) 547-4504 between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday- Friday. Those interested in volunteering their services to assist those affected by the tornado should also call (573) 547-4504 to be assigned a task or cleanup grid.
Voelker expressed gratitude at the outpouring of volunteers who have served many hours to provide assistance for those hit hardest by the tornado.
"It is unreal the people who have shown up to help," Voelker said. "People have stepped up in so many ways."