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One Year Later, Recovery Continues After March's Devastating Georgia Tornadoes

Release date: 
March 13, 2009
Release Number: 

ATLANTA, Ga. -- In March 2008, Georgia experienced a system of severe storms and tornadoes that left millions of dollars in damages throughout the state. From March 14 to March 16, a total of 45 tornadoes pushed through the south, 11 of them touching down in Georgia.
One tornado shocked Atlantans by cutting a swath through downtown on March 14 just before 10 p.m. Over the next two days, more tornadoes would collide into communities in several other parts of the state.
“We were prepared for the worst,” said Georgia Emergency Management Director Charley English. “I credit our emergency managers and first responders statewide for their quick actions in the aftermath. In fact, one of the reasons cited recently by the NCAA for returning the Final Four championship basketball tournament to the Georgia Dome in 2013 was the experience of the Georgia Dome staff and how well they functioned with local and state first responders to the tornado. We also appreciate FEMA for its prompt response to our request for help in the recovery effort.”
Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV Administrator Major P. May said FEMA has worked closely with the state of Georgia for many years in planning and exercising for such events.
"That relationship enabled FEMA to quickly establish a Joint Field Office with the state, which for months served as the command and coordination center for hundreds of FEMA staff deployed to help individuals and communities recover and rebuild," said May.
When the president declared a major disaster for the State of Georgia on March 20, 2008, it triggered the release of federal funds from FEMA. To date, more than $3 million in grants and loans has been distributed to home owners, renters and businesses in seven counties.
Initially, Fulton County was designated eligible for FEMA's Individual and Households Program (IHP) assistance, making a range of financial assistance and other services available to people affected by the storms. Two days later, Bartow, Burke, DeKalb, Floyd, Jefferson and Polk counties expanded that list. Ultimately, requests for disaster assistance in those counties surpassed 1,880.  

In addition, the declaration authorized Public Assistance (PA) funding for Burke, Fulton and Jefferson
counties to help reimburse state agencies, local governments, and private non-profits for debris removal, emergency protective measures and uninsured repair, or replacement of damaged roads and bridges, public buildings, and water control facilities. Estimated in the millions, the majority of damage to communities and infrastructure eligible for PA grants was covered by insurance. To ensure all needs have been identified, State of Georgia and FEMA recovery specialists continue to work closely with local and county Public Assistance applicants as they complete documentation related to last year’s storms.
The following is a summary of state and federal assistance to date:

  • $1,386,403 in state funds and federal grants through FEMA’s IHP programs.
    • $998,980 through the Housing Assistance program, fully funded by FEMA, that provides             
      money for repairs and rental assistance;
    • $387,423 to storm survivors to cover other disaster-related, such as funeral and dental
      expenses, loss of personal property and transportation. The figure represents the state's 25               
      percent share of $96,856 and FEMA’s 75 percent share of $290,567.

  • $1,712,000 in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) financial assistance to homeowners,
    renters and businesses that experienced phys...
Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:27