Recovery efforts continue in Rusk County - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Recovery efforts continue in Rusk County

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Rusk County (WQOW) - Dozens of area residents are still recovering from a tornado that ripped through parts of Barron and Rusk counties in mid-May.

The Rusk County Emergency Management said preliminary reports show a nearly 30 mile impact area, with most concentrated damages being in the County W/Log Cabin Road area, located southwest of Weyerhaueser, Amacoy Lake area south of Bruce and in the Conrath area.

RELATED LINK: Barron Co. Sheriff's Dept. estimates tornado caused $10 million in damages

Emergency officials said the tornado caused damage to trees, properties, homes and agriculture fields and livestock. News 18 recently reported one person died and 25 others were injured from the tornado. They said heavy rain following the tornado have slowed some clean-up work and caused flooding in other areas.

Officials said power has been restored throughout Rusk County, with exception of damaged/destroyed properties where power cannot be connected.

VOLUNTEERS

They said volunteers are still needed, and those wanting to help should contact "211" to be connected. 

County and local officials are coordinating with state and federal agencies to determine what assistance is available to local residents affected by the tornado. They said a group of state officials will be visiting the area Tuesday to see the damage.

Officials said people affected should continue to document, including making a detailed list and taking pictures of damages, and provide information to Rusk County Emergency Management by calling "211". The information gathered will be used to help determine what possible state programs may be available to provide recovery assistance.

The county said most federal disaster aid would only cover uninsured losses. It said the aid is not designed to replace personal items but rather to assist with home repairs.

TIPS ON INSURANCE

Some tips from the State of Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance include:

  • Do not throw out any damaged property without your insurance adjuster’s acknowledgment. If local officials require the disposal of damaged items before the insurance company's claims adjuster can inspect the damages, take photos and keep a swatch or other sample of damaged items for the adjuster (e.g., cut swatches from carpeting, curtains, and chairs).
  • Separate damaged items from undamaged items.
  • To avoid scams, make sure to take your time. If you feel pressured to sign a contract quickly, take a step back and investigate. Rebuilding your home or business is important, but quickly signing a contact with an unscrupulous contractor can make a bad situation worse.
  • Contact your insurance company again if an adjuster has not been assigned to you within several days. 

PEOPLE AFFECTED BY TORNADO

For residents seeking assistance, the following resources are available:

  • Any residents in need of volunteer assistance to clear debris from the recent storm damage should call 2-1-1. They will need a name, phone number, and location.
  • The Red Cross center in Conrath closed on Sunday (5/21) evening. However, they will continue working with affected residents. If you have been affected and have not already been in contact with the Red Cross their contact number is 715-559-7365.
  • Anyone in the need of clothing, food, bedding or household furniture should contact:
    • Donation Center at Mosaic Center. Phone 715-458-5306
    • ICAA Connections Store in Ladysmith 715.532.7542
    • The Salvation Army is also available to provide assistance at 715.403.1285 
  • Rusk County Health and Human Services may be available to assist residents within their regular scope of programs. (715) 532-2299
  • Funds remain open for donations at Pioneer State Bank and Ladysmith Federal, both in Ladysmith.
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