EF1 Tornado destroys Greene County home

GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – A family lost their home Monday afternoon when an EF1 tornado hit a small part of Greene County.  Mark Dewhitt and his wife Melissa were not home when the storm hit.

"Most of it is wet.  Most of it has got insulation thrown all through it," said Dewhitt.

Monday afternoon the tornado ripped the roof off their mobile home.  That roof and most of their insulation is now lying across their back yard.

"I see two ceiling fans in the tree.  I see my roof top right here and I see my two big oak trees uprooted back here," said Melissa Dewhitt.

Their belongings are coated with dried insulation, dirt and pieces of their shredded roof.  Even though there is a lot of work ahead of them, being here and seeing all of their belongings destroyed is very difficult.

"Everything was like sucked up through the top of the trailer and thrown everywhere," said Mark Dewhitt.

The Dewhitt family has three daughters and thankfully no one was home when the storm hit but when they saw the damage they knew nothing would ever be the same.

"Destiny asked us if we were ever going to be able to go home," said Melissa Dewhitt.

Sadly the answer is no.  The home they woke up in on Monday is a total loss and with no insurance they don't know what they will do next.

"I wasn't worried about anything more than what are we going to do with the kids because we don't have anywhere to go," said Dewhitt.

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Below is a news release from the Little Rock DHS office:


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - As Arkansans repair or rebuild homes and other property damaged in this spring's storms, state and federal recovery officials have an important message for them: Haste makes waste when building without a permit.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge property owners to stop at their city or county permitting office before they pick up a saw or swing a hammer. Most require builders to get appropriate construction permits before they launch any rebuilding or significant repair project. Many municipalities use different offices for this purpose, so Arkansans should check their local governments' websites first to see where to go.

"We share Arkansans' eagerness to get their homes repaired so they can get on with their lives," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. "We highly recommend they adhere to local regulations and get all necessary permits before they rebuild."

By requiring construction permits, the state of Arkansas and its local governments ensure buildings are built to existing codes, which in turn protects the safety of homeowners and the community at large. Permits are required not only for new construction, but also for rebuilding an existing home or building, or doing substantial electrical, mechanical or plumbing work.

"We'd like to see homeowners use their federal assistance grants wisely and well," said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy M. Casper. "Following local building ordinances is one way to ensure their homes are sound and their families safe."

The May 2 federal disaster declaration for the storms, floods and tornadoes makes Individual Assistance grants and U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans available to help eligible homeowners, renters and business owners repair and rebuild in 30 Arkansas counties.

Arkansans living in a disaster designated county are encouraged to register with FEMA. They may register through any one of FEMA's registration portals: online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone toll free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Specialists are available by phone from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Visit www.fema.gov or www.adem.arkansas.gov for news and information about this disaster. Follow FEMA tweets about the Arkansas disaster at www.twitter.com/femaregion6. Other online resources include http://blog.fema.gov, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state's homeland security and preparedness agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to Arkansas by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies.  For additional information, contact ADEM at (501) 683-6700 or visit the website at www.adem.arkansas.gov.

SBA is the federal government's primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.