R3SM and WCU give an update on tornado relief efforts

R3SM and WCU give an update on tornado relief efforts
Repairs continue six months later. Photo credit WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Friday will mark the six-month anniversary of the deadly January 21st tornado. Six-months later, relief efforts are still on-going as volunteer groups work around the Pine Belt.

R3SM is one of the groups that has been working with other volunteer groups to clean up areas damaged by the tornado.

Next week, the organization plans to complete their first rebuild.

"We will have 60 volunteers from the Oregon United Methodist Church out of Alabama," said R3SM volunteer coordinator Chris Adams. "They will begin construction on that home at 6 o'clock on Monday morning."

$552,798 has been approved for cases and R3SM currently has 32 approved and funded cases, according to Adams.

William Carey University is in the process of rebuilding their campus.

Since January, the university has already completed numerous repairs. They have plans to build two new dorms to replace the two dorms that were destroyed. They also have plans to completely renovate the dorms still standing.

"All the dorms are being repainted," said Coordinator of Media Relations and Marketing Mia Overton. "They're getting new carpet, new tile, and new windows."

The rebuild on campus has been faster than anyone could've predicted.

"I remember walking on campus the morning after the tornado thinking 'wow, how are we ever coming to come back from this?' But just even a month later, we had students moving back on campus," Overton said.

R3SM expects to finish their first rebuild by next Thursday. William Carey expects to finish phase three of their recovery by the summer of 2018.