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Cleanup efforts continue three weeks after tornadoes ripped through Southwest Florida

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 17:39:56-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Cleanup efforts from when multiple tornadoes ripped through Southwest Florida on January 16th continue.

Lee County says Tuesday began the final phases of debris removal. Neighbors have been asked the last week to make sure that they put any leftover debris on the curb so it can be properly picked up.

Some neighbors say they are happy with the cleanup efforts so far - while others are hoping to get more help and had some questions regarding FEMA.

Joan Russel's daughter's home was impacted by a tornado and has seen a difference in the cleanup efforts the last 3 weeks saying, "The road is completely clear and we can get by now and it's a lot better." But she is still concerned about a big rooted tree that is on her daughter's property. "Nobody seems to know if they'll take this, this is part of the storm you know and we surely need it taken out and with the dogs and the fencing we can't finish it because the tree is blocking everything."

When taking her concerns to Lee County leaders...they explain they can only remove what's left at the curb.

Other neighbors like Stacy Edmonds hope to get more help past the debris, "Our debris is gone we've already cleaned it up...That's not my issue, my issue is my home that I can't afford to fix and I just can't seem to get anybody to help. I'm hoping that FEMA comes and helps us because we had Lee County Emergency down here and nobody wants to talk to us."

Teresa Reese agrees, "I have to say that if this tornado had hit a wealthy neighborhood FEMA would have been all over the place, the dollar amount would have been up and there wouldn't have been no problem. Every one of us is a voter, every one of us is an American, every one of us deserves help."

Lee County says residents can check for FEMA updates when they become available.

When FOX 4 contacted FEMA we were told there's not a disaster declaration for the tornadoes however there is a request for a major disaster declaration - which came from Governor Ron Desantis. That request goes up to DC then a determination is made.

FEMA said the steps people should take now - document, call your insurance company, and for anything immediate call county emergency management.

As for the ongoing cleanup efforts that we've seen taking place throughout Tuesday with trucks coming by for debris removal - when asked how long that will go on for... Lee County says right now there's no end date for that because they will determine that based on the progress.

For more information regarding the disaster declaration process visit

January 16, 2022 Tornado Related Stories