SPECIAL REPORT: Alto stands together despite lack of federal support

Local News

ALTO, Texas (KETK) – April 13th was a day of tornadoes all across the Country.

The most significant tornado of the event was a long-tracked, high-end EF3 tornado that struck and killed two people in Alto.

Five months later, there were people still suffering.

“FEMA has a strict policy for mandating an area as a disaster declaration,” said Nim Kidd Chief of Security Management for the State of Texas.

When all hope was lost, in August KETK New’s Neal Barton asked Governor Gregg Abbott during the Tyler Town Hall hosted by the station a question that brought the issue to the surface again.

“You declared a state of emergency and we appreciate that, but there are still people hurting,” said Barton.

“I will say this, Chief Kidd call the people of Alto right away and figure out what help you can provide, I bet he gets on the phone,” said Abbott.

Kidd did, he reached out to Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis.

“It bothers me that there are still folks in Alto and the surrounding areas that are screaming for the FEMA funds. They aren’t coming. It’s going to take a long time, but Alto looks way different than it did in April,” said Davis.

To break down the FEMA requirement we took a gander at their website, according to records, 15 tornadoes have been declared as a disaster declaration in Texas since the 1950’s. On average Texas sees 132 tornadoes a year.

“A state our size needs around 800 homes major damage or destroyed without insurance in a single event,” said Kidd.

This caused many residents to pick up the pieces by themselves.

“That’s strictly donations that’s people helping people that’s not your handout from the government asking for anything
to me as Texans that’s the important part,” said Chris Davis.

The current population of Alto is just over 1,200. That means there was little to no chance that the city’s devastation would ever meet the requirement for FEMA.

“That should send a message of preparedness to our citizens. I want to thank yall for getting this message out. Families need to have a plan. they need to do whatever they can to have a little bit of financial money set aside in order to be ready for the next event,” said Kidd.

Despite the lack of federal support, the town has stayed #ALTOGETHER.

Strangers became neighbors as the community joined to clean houses and be proactive if it ever happens again.

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