Debris Removal at 90 Percent after 90 Days

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Release date: 
July 29, 2011
Release Number: 
1971-143

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – More than 90 days have passed since 63 tornadoes, severe storms and straight-line winds devastated Alabama and left more than 10 million cubic yards of debris in their paths. And in that time, a cohesive effort among volunteers and local, state and federal agencies, and the public has led to removing 90 percent of that debris.

One cubic yard of debris is about the size of a washing machine. Ten million cubic yards is enough to fill 67,000 18-wheelers. If those trucks were lined up one behind the other, they would stretch from Mobile to Nashville and halfway back again.

The recovery process has involved neighbors, volunteers and community groups standing shoulder-to-shoulder with local, state and federal agencies. These neighbors and groups used their skill and time to cut down leaning and broken trees, and remove the debris from public roadways. Volunteers also donated time and tools to help individuals remove damaged trees and other debris from their property.

“As devastating as the storms were, the spirit of Alabama is stronger than ever,” said State Coordinating Officer Jeff Byard of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. “I am very proud of our state and what we have accomplished.”

Early in the disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency tasked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct right-of-way debris segregation and hauling operations in 61 locations. The Corps is still active in 33 of those areas. In addition, the Corps is removing private property debris at 33 locations and has finished shoreline and submerged debris removal at Lake Martin and Neely Henry Lake, two of Alabama’s most popular recreational waterways.

“It’s not easy rising from the rubble but, with a helping hand, Alabama can and will get back to a sense of normalcy,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne of FEMA. “I am proud to look back on the last 90 days and see the progress this team has made.”

To date, the Corps has hauled away more than 4.7 million cubic yards of right-of-way, waterway and private property debris and deposited it in appropriate landfill sites. Private contractors and force account crews in counties and cities have removed an additional 4.3 million cubic yards of debris.

“Recovery doesn’t stop after 90 days,” Byrne said. “We still have some work ahead of us, and now it’s time for communities to look forward to the possibilities that recovery brings.”

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.

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Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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