Perry Describes Incomprehensible Damage in Granbury

Governor hints at new program to help Texans help Texans

Gov. Rick Perry was in North Texas Friday, touring areas devastated by deadly tornadoes earlier in the week, and hinted a model may soon be developed that will help Texans help Texans recovering from tragedies.

Following the tour, Perry was joined at a news conference by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, Assistant Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Nim Kidd and Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds.

"It's going to be a difficult few days as we deal with this," Perry said. "That is destruction that is almost incomprehensible to explain. Houses will be rebuilt, but there's no replacing those loved ones who were lost."

Six people were killed and dozens more were injured when an EF-4 tornado ripped through Granbury.  An EF-3 was recorded in nearby Cleburne.

"I know the people of this community will rebuild. We’ll be working with them over the course of the days, coordinating with their federal counterparts, and the local folks."

Deeds said officials are working on a plan to get displaced residents access to their property, on a limited basis, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday.  Residents, contractors and insurance representatives will need to register with the county to gain access to the area.

Perry said there has been overwhelming support from the community and that officials are working to determine where to direct donations.

The charitable act of giving, and some questions that come from it, prompted the governor to say state officials are working with some in the private sector to find a more efficient way to allow people to help each other in times of need.

"There are a lot of people that want to help and, all too often, West being a great example, of where donations had to be turned away," Perry said. "There may be an even more efficient way for Texans to help Texans when there is this type of disaster, rather than having to fund it all the way through a national organization."

Perry admitted discussions about how to improve the donation process were in the very preliminary stages, but that there were hopes of developing a national model.

"I think being able to create a structure where the individuals are comfortable that the resources, whatever those might be, are actually getting to the individuals ... its just now being discussed and worked on," Perry said. "Hopefully we can create a national model, for not just Texas, but for other states to take a look at ... here's how the private sector can more directly help and not have the multiple layers that sometimes you see with the federal and/or the state government programs. It's a concept that we're just starting to discuss right now.  Hopefully we can have it fleshed out and Texans can be comfortable that they're getting the help that they want to be able to dispense directly to the people who have been impacted by these disasters.

Perry said it was too early to appeal for federal aid and that he was waiting on declarations of disasters from the counties impacted by the tornadoes.  However, Perry said the White House was aware of the disaster and that President Barack Obama's administration has been good to work with regarding recent tragedies in the state.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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