BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Operation Clean Sweep is in full swing to pick up and remove tornado debris in eligible jurisdictions by the recently extended deadline of July 12. Property owners can help expedite debris removal by completing paperwork allowing debris teams to enter private property.
“We have cooperation at all levels of government to complete the debris removal as quickly as possible,” said State Coordinating Officer Jeff Byard of Alabama Emergency Management Agency. “We also need the help of the individual property owners so we can move on to housing issues.”
Operation Clean Sweep is a pilot program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency that addresses debris removal in communities within or immediately adjacent to areas of catastrophic or extensive damage. But debris is being removed from private property in certain jurisdictions regardless of Operation Clean Sweep. Before anyone can go onto private property, the local jurisdiction must have legal right of entry to remove debris from the property.
“This is still the United States of America, where we respect private property rights,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne of FEMA. “Before we go onto private property to remove anything, landowners must give us right of entry.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with officials of 17 local jurisdictions that have asked for its assistance to develop guidelines on securing the right of entry to private property. Other local jurisdictions are developing their own processes.
Recovery officials encourage people to complete the paperwork required for debris teams to enter their property as soon as possible. People who have questions about debris removal should contact their local emergency manager or public works department.
Debris removal is a team effort that involves many people and organizations –survivors, faith-based and voluntary groups, as well as the business community, local jurisdictions, AEMA, the Corps and FEMA.
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.
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.
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FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.