Federal, state aid could be coming for town hit by deadly tornado


Robert Bradfield

DIEHLSTADT, Mo. — The clean up continues in Diehlstadt, Missouri, one week after a tornado killed three people in one family. Now, state and federal officials are touring the area to see what financial assistance they can provide.

Piece by piece, members of the Miller family pick up the debris that litters their yard.

"It's tough. It's really tough and my heart breaks for them," said U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson.

Emerson spent time Monday comforting the Millers and the community but she knows even that can only go so far.

"No matter what one does, nothing can replace your lost loved ones," she said.

Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said Missouri's Emergency Management team surveyed the damage last week and from their initial findings, the town could receive either state or federal funds for clean up and rebuilding efforts.

"Some of the folks didn't have insurance, too," Walter said. "One of the things Ms. Emerson talked about was some low-interest loans."

The sheriff said much of the destruction was concentrated to Diehlstadt but there were homes outside town that had minor or moderate damage. All of that will be taken into consideraton for future aid.

Emerson hopes that aid comes through at some level.

"You just ask yourself, 'How's it possible for the wind or storm to do that?'" she said.

It could be several weeks before the final damage assessment report is complete. That ultimately will decide how much, if any, financial relief will be coming to the county.