Road to recovery continues after January tornado

Road to recovery continues after January tornado
Baker's home/Photo credit: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It has been just over three weeks since the deadly tornado ripped through portions of the Pine Belt, and people in some of the hardest hit areas are still looking for help.

"The darkness and the pieces were blowing, I'm like let's go now, now let's go now, it was over just like that," said Sandra Baker, a Hattiesburg resident.

Baker and her family rode out the storm in their Edwards Street home and are now working to pick up the pieces.

The home once belonged to her mother, and she said it is a work in progress.

"We had some volunteers to come in and help us remove the debris and the trees from around the house and we're on the inside now," Baker said.

Baker said they are in the appeal process with FEMA for getting aid for their damaged home.

"When you don't have homeowner's insurance, it kind of takes a little longer, so they come out and make their assessment, and then I just learned Friday that we have a little bit for home repairs, and to make it salvageable or sanitary to live in, but of course as you can see, it's not enough," Baker said.

Her main goal is to salvage what she can of the home.

"We got two rooms, the living room and dining room that we got accomplished but as you can see, it's still a process," Baker said. "The bedrooms, and the kitchen and the bathroom and we're kind of doing it ourselves. I mean we got calls to get assistance, but we wanted to go through some of the belongings before they just started taking it out to the street."

Baker added that the house is filling with mold, and the walls of the home are buckling.

"I know we can't get it back to where it used to be, but you know, I want to keep the house and live here for as long as I can," she said. "So, salvaging it is a must."

Baker's home is like so many others in the Hattiesburg and Petal areas, and down some streets it looks like new from homes that did not suffer any damage, and then others, it looks like a war zone.

"I just have to learn and be patient and wait on God, 'cause he's the only one that's going to be able to do it," Baker said.