The owner of a campground near Joplin, Mo., said he is struggling to pay utilities and maintenance costs because of what he believed to be a good deed after the tornado hit this summer, KOAM-TV, Pittsburg, Kan., reported.
Shortly after the tornado, many displaced residents camped at the Shoal Creek Resort. The owner chose not to charge the survivors and said he was told by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) that he would eventually be taken care of.
He said government help never came.
The campground’s owner said he’s almost $200,000 in debt because of utilities and maintenance costs. FEMA says rules don’t allow the agency to help.
“There would need to be an agreement between two entities prior to the event that lays out all the terms to which they are agreeing on how an emergency shelter would be handled,” says Krystal Payton of FEMA.
Part of the campground’s electricity was shut off on Thursday (Dec. 1) and the campground’s owner has put his property up for sale.
Some 50 employees from high-end motorhome builder Newell Coach Corp. today (May 27) were in Joplin in southwest Missouri carrying supplies and helping clean up following last Sunday’s tornado that ripped though the city of 50,000.
Newell, with headquarters in Miami, Okla., about 25 miles south of Joplin, sustained no damage during the horrific tornado that killed more than 130 people.
”Tornadoes can be amazingly surgical,” said Karl Blade, president of the 150-employee motorhome manufacturer that builds coaches retailing for $1.5 million and up.
Newell’s volunteers weren’t sure what they would be doing until after they arrived – or even if they would have cell phone service to provide communications.
”They ended up clearing debris,” Blade said. ”Many buildings in Joplin were destroyed to the foundation. But what do you do with all the scrap wood, metal and broken glass? And how do you pay for it? About 4,000 structures were destroyed. It’s a huge mess.”
Before leaving this morning, volunteers loaded a Newell coach with water, food, bread, light tools and chainsaw oil donated by the local Wal-Mart. ”It’s really been a community effort in Miami,” Blade said.