Aftermath of Severe Southern Storms – Supporting our State and Local Partners

Main Content

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities struck by the deadly series of tornadoes and severe storms that swept through many of our southern and Midwestern states late last week and over the weekend. FEMA, through our regional offices in Denton, Texas and Atlanta has been closely monitoring the storms and their aftermath, and has been in constant contact with the impacted states. Yesterday, President Obama spoke with Governor Bentley of Alabama and Governor Perdue of North Carolina to let them know that the entire federal government, through FEMA, stands ready to support in their recovery efforts as needed.

Over the weekend we deployed a FEMA representative to the North Carolina emergency operations center to help the state with coordination and other needs. And at the requests of the governors of the respective states, FEMA has deployed teams to North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested. As of this morning, we now have 12 teams on the ground in North Carolina, one team in Alabama and three teams in Mississippi.

And at the request of the governor of Oklahoma, we also had a team on the ground in the state over the weekend to partner with state and local personnel to assess the damage. Those assessments have been completed and the state will now review the findings to determine whether or not to seek federal assistance.

Already in North Carolina, we have seen the team that we so often talking about coming together to help the community recovery, whether it’s volunteers or neighbor helping neighbor. As the New York Times reported this morning:

Around the parts of the Southern states that were hardest hit, volunteers began organizing food drives and fund-raisers. Many people were connecting through Facebook and Twitter, and others were simply showing up to see how they might help.

In Sanford, the Salvation Army thrift store opened its doors at 3 p.m. and two hours later had already accepted about 400 bags of clothes and household goods, said Derek Oley, 29, the manager. They will start supplying food to people Monday.

“This community is just so awesome right now,” Mr. Oley said. “People are just coming out from everywhere to help out.”

And remember – as these storms proved once again – severe weather can strike anytime, anywhere. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get prepared for tornadoes and other disasters on

Last Updated: 
06/17/2012 - 11:06



How do I get help with no car we only lost power f...

How do I get help with no car we only lost power for 24 hrs. We live in Cumberland county. Will food stamps reimbuse us or will we have to wait for Obama. I was allready in Katrina and didn't know so I want to find out now how tocontact

After three days of the most severe outbreak of to...

After three days of the most severe outbreak of tornados in recent history beginning on Friday April 15th, the first mention of the tornados on the FEMA web site was posted on Monday April 18th at 11:22:00 AM. <br />Doesn't FEMA work on the weekends? FEMA's paychecks are being cashed. For what? Sleeping in the control tower?

Federal disaster assistance is available for disas...

Federal disaster assistance is available for disaster survivors in 18 counties, including Cumberland. Visit, or call (800) 621-3362(TTY (800) 462-7585) to apply for assistance, and see the latest on the North Carolina disaster at

Most in FEMA are reserve employees, meaning they d...

Most in FEMA are reserve employees, meaning they do not get paid unless they are sent to a disaster area to work. That cannot happen until the local and state officials in an area affected by disaster do a damage assessment and request Federal assistance. Then it is up to the President to either designate it as a federally declared disaster or not. Only if the President makes that declaration can FEMA move in and begin working with individuals or local entities. The Feds cannot come into a state unless and until they are invited by the state. Though some other assistance comes in right away and FEMA officials coordinate with leaders in the affected areas, FEMA is a supplement to local disaster response, not a first responder. If your area was hit by disaster, you can contact your local or state officials to see if they plan to ask for Federal assistance. If they do and can demonstrate that recovery is beyond the local and state capacity to handle, then it is up to the President. FEMA does not have the authority to override local control, which is why they could not go into New Orleans after Katrina until the Governor finally requested their help. <br /><br />Disaster can happen anytime, anywhere, and it is the individual’s responsibility to be prepared and be able to take care of themselves at least for the first couple of days. There are things you can do before disaster hits to lessen the damages and there are things you can do to prepare.

Add new comment

Back to Top