RINGGOLD, Ga.-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today traveled to Ringgold, Ga., to survey the damage and the response and recovery efforts underway following the severe storms and tornadoes that affected many regions in the Southeast.
"We thank the first responders, emergency personnel, as well as the citizens and volunteers-many of whom are survivors of this disaster-for working around the clock to help with response and recovery efforts," said Secretary Napolitano. "Rebuilding from this terrible storm will be a longer-term effort, but we will continue to stand with all those affected, every step of the way."
While in Ringgold, Secretary Napolitano joined U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, U.S. Representative Tom Graves, Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Charley English, Chairman of the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners Keith Greene, Ringgold Mayor Joe Barger, and Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers to tour Cherokee Valley-an area of Catoosa County most affected by the recent storms. Since the storms, two shelters have been opened in the Ringgold area, and FEMA Community Relations Teams have been deployed throughout the region-meeting with disaster survivors to explain the assistance available, and to encourage survivors register for assistance.
After surveying the damage in Cherokee Valley, Secretary Napolitano visited the Ringgold Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) where she met with first responders as well as the survivors and their families. There are now Disaster Recovery Centers open in thirteen counties across Georgia-staffed by state, voluntary agency and federal personnel to help those whose homes or businesses were affected by recent storms and tornadoes.
The Disaster Recovery Center Locator is a resource that allows individuals to find DRCs nearest to their location, once they are open, and includes information such as hours of operation, services offered, and driving directions. The centers are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. The Disaster Recovery Center Locator can be found online at http://www.fema.gov/drclocator or on our mobile site at http://m.fema.gov.
The Obama Administration has been deeply involved in response and recovery efforts since the storms first hit. The President has signed major disaster declarations for Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi-which make federal assistance available to individuals who suffered personal property damages or losses, and for public infrastructure, such as schools, fires stations and libraries. Damage assessments are ongoing, and counties continue to be designated to receive assistance as damage assessments are completed.
Families and individuals that have been impacted by the tornadoes and storms, and need assistance have several options for receiving help:
- Registering online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov,
- Registering through a web-enabled mobile device at http://m.fema.gov, or·
- 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 7 AM to 10 PM (local time) seven days a week until further notice.