One in two residents hit by the tornado which devastated south Birmingham may not be insured, it has been claimed.

As the clean-up operation in the aftermath of last Thursday's disaster continued, concerns were voiced that dozens of residents and traders did not have policies and may not be able to repair their homes without Government help.

Up to 20 homes in the Moseley and Balsall Heath districts are expected to be demolished in the next few days, including a private Muslim school for girls.


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The Woodcock Girls School, in Woodstock Road, which caters for about 150 pupils, had its roof blown off in the tornado. The roofs of Ladypool Primary School and Nelson Mandela School were also been badly damaged. Although a number of residents were allowed home at the weekend, including 54 to properties in Birchwood Road and Taunton Road, about 150 are still in temporary accommodation set up by the city council.

Dozens more are staying in mosques or with families while damage is repaired and debris removed.

It was claimed some residents have remained in their homes over fears of looting. One man was arrested over an incident of looting 15 minutes after the tornado struck on Thursday afternoon. No other incidents have been reported. Coun Martin Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley) said he believed up to 55 per cent of the population of Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook areas hit by the tornado were without insurance.

He said: "The one thing that has hit us is that a lot of people do not have insurance, traders and homeowners. We think it is about 55 per cent of the population who aren't covered. We have got to get the Government to put some scheme together to help these people, possibly by offering them an interest free loan to repair their homes." Local Government Minister Phil Woolas visited the affected areas on Saturday and said he would look at whether the Government could offer a package of financial support.

Mr Woolas said: "No amount of words or pictures could have prepared me for the scene that greeted me - that was only possible by seeing for myself and hearing the first hand accounts of local people whose homes and businesses lie shattered by this unprecedented natural disaster. Let us be thankful that no human life was lost."

He added: " In due course, the Government will consider what financial support may be available under the Bellwin scheme."

The Bellwin scheme allows Ministers to make available extra funding to local councils to assist with emergency incidents.