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Mississippi tornado recovery nearly impossible for low-income residents

A massive tornado tore through the Mississippi Delta flatlands on Friday, destroying Kimberly Berry’s one-story home, leaving only a foundation and a few scattered belongings.

Berry, who lived in the home with her two daughters, sought shelter at a nearby church with her 12-year-old daughter while her 25-year-old daughter survived the storm in the town of Rolling Fork, 15 miles away.

She reflected on the destruction of their home and possessions, which included a toppled refrigerator, a dresser with a matching nightstand, a bag of Christmas decorations, and some clothing.

However, she expressed gratitude for her family’s survival, stating, “I can get all this back. It’s nothing. I’m not going to get depressed about it.” Berry, who works as a supervisor at a catfish growing and processing operation, faces an uncertain future, much like many other people in the area.

Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the U.S., and the Delta region has long been one of the state’s poorest areas. Many residents of the area work paycheck to paycheck in jobs related to agriculture. The tornado hit two of the state’s most sparsely populated counties, Sharkey and Humphreys, which have only a few thousand residents scattered across vast fields of cotton, corn, and soybeans. The future remains uncertain for those who call the area home.

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