Volunteers see hope amid Greene County's tornado debris

LEAKESVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Brandon Payne led a volunteer team from Harrison County to Greene County this morning, ready to help tornado victims remove debris, and rebuild their lives.  "I did not realize the extent of the damage," he said.  According to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, almost 100 homes sustained damage, 23 were destroyed.  "They're hurting for help," said Payne.

As many as 45 people are suddenly homeless.

Greene County is one of 14 counties throughout Mississippi under a state of emergency after a line of strong storms spawned a number of tornados.

Payne stressed that Greene County neighbors need basic necessities to get through the next few days.  Canned food, and clothing are critical needs, especially for the 23 families who lost everything on Friday.

"It's a sad day in Leakesville; it's a sad day in Clinton, as well as Dekalb," said Paige Roberts, American Red Cross Director of Public Affairs and Development.

MEMA said the storm is a responsible for seriously damaging or destroying nearly 260 homes and businesses.

One of those tornadoes was reported in the small town of Leakesville late Friday night. In the wake of massive storms that swept through parts of the state, some neighborhoods in the area are almost unrecognizable.

"Peoples' homes have been lost, some lives have been lost. The force of mother nature is so incredible that it's just mind boggling," said Roberts.

Residents of the Greene County town are struggling to come to terms with the devastation.

One fatality, six injuries and widespread structural damage occurred in just one night. The force of mother nature has left this once beautiful community covered with debris and reeking of gas.

As work crews were repairing power poles, some homeowners spent the day cleaning up damage and salvaging what's left of their homes. Representatives from the Red Cross said because of the extent of the damage, their work is just beginning.

"There is still a lot of work to be done. We are moving resources, and we have emotional care teams on their way, especially for the family who lost their sister," said Roberts.

Recovery efforts are evident as workers add temporary roofing to businesses. There is still there's a long way to go, but OU you can help.

"There's always a cost with a disaster like this. The best way to make an impact here for your neighbors in Greene County, as well as across the state, is to make a financial gift to the Red Cross," Roberts said.

If you are interested in making a donation, click HERE.

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