Tornado Aftermath: Exploitation of Destruction


More than 60 apartments and houses were affected in the subdivision, some of which have been damaged beyond repair.

"There are several structures in there, like a three-story apartment building, where the top is completely down, walls are hanging down and roof materials are hanging down," Maines said. "It's definitely an unsafe situation for people to be around there."

The entrance to the neighborhood had to be blocked off this weekend and officers were checking ID's to make sure only residents, cleanup crews and officials were allowed in.

"Another large problem is contractors kind of freelancing and wanting to get in the neighborhood to go door-to-door to see if they could get any work," Maines said.

Officials don't want these potential hustlers "knocking on doors as people are trying to pick up their belongings and figure out what happened," he added

Amid all the loss, many people near and far are looking for ways to give back but being cautioned that disasters often give way for fraudulent charities to attempt to take advantage of people.

The Better Business Bureau has released a guide for people wanting to give to tornado-relief charities.

"Givers should take steps to assure themselves that their donations will go to legitimate and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help victims," the Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance said in a statement.

Officials advise potential donors to verify the charity's accountability, as well as to learn how and when they will be using the donations.

Dozens of tornadoes ravaged parts of the Midwest and the South last week, with a death toll of 39 people.

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