Sat., April 30, 2011 11:37am (EDT)

Georgia Gets Federal Disaster Aid
By Office of the Governor
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
President Barack Obama approved a federal disaster declaration for 16 counties devastated by severe storms and tornadoes. (Video by Melissa Stiers)
Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that President Obama approved a federal disaster declaration for 16 counties devastated by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and associated flooding on April 27-28. The storms killed 15 people and hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged.

"We appreciate the prompt response by President Obama and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate as we begin the arduous process of recovery," said Deal. "Georgia’s entire congressional delegation jumped into gear on the federal level to seek aid for their constituents, and their diligence has paid off. This assistance will be of great help to the survivors who are reclaiming their lives."

The counties eligible to receive individual assistance include: Bartow, Catoosa, Dade, Floyd, Polk, Spalding and Walker. Residents and business owners in these counties who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

The president also has designated that local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations in Bartow, Catoosa, Coweta, Dade, Floyd, Greene, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Spalding, Troup, and Walker counties are eligible to receive federal funds to help offset 75 percent of the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures.

This disaster declaration also makes all counties in Georgia eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which provides assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

As deadly tornadoes moved through the state on April 27, Deal quickly recognized the severity of the situation and declared a state of emergency for four counties. The following day, after touring storm-ravaged communities and reviewing preliminary damage assessment figures submitted by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Deal expanded the state of emergency, adding 12 more. He also requested an expedited federal declaration.

GEMA will request preliminary damage assessments be conducted in additional counties as further information on local damage reports becomes available. More counties may be made eligible after further evaluation by local, state and federal officials.

For more information on GEMA, visit www.gema.ga.gov. To learn how to prepare for disaster and create a custom kit and plan, visit www.ready.ga.gov. For specific risks in your community, contact your local emergency management agency. Follow GEMA at www.twitter.com/georgiaema, www.facebook.com/gema.ohs, and www.youtube.com/ReadyGAfromGEMA.