ATLANTA, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is expanding the federal aid available in Georgia associated with severe storms and tornadoes that struck March 1-2, 2007. Six counties now qualify for Individual Assistance and nine for Public Assistance. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
The initial declaration on March 3, which authorized Individual Assistance for only Sumter County, now has been expanded to include five more counties: Baker, Crawford, McDuffie, Mitchell and Taylor.
Individuals in those counties are urged to register for assistance right away by calling toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. They also may register online at www.fema.gov.
Several disaster programs available to include temporary housing, disaster unemployment, legal assistance, crisis counseling and grants for serious needs and necessary expenses not met by insurance or other programs. In addition, residents and business owners may also be eligible for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help cover losses not fully covered by insurance.
In addition, the following nine counties now qualify for Public Assistance: Baker, Clay, Crawford, McDuffie, Mitchell, Muscogee, Stewart, Sumter and Taylor. The nine affected counties can apply for Public Assistance for emergency protective measures and debris removal, as well as repairs to:
- Roads and bridges
- Water control facilities
- Buildings and equipment
- Parks/recreational facilities
Under the federal disaster declaration, state and affected local governments receive a minimum 75 percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and the restoration of damaged public facilities. Certain private, nonprofit organizations may be eligible for assistance as well.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.