ATLANTA – After traversing the Florida panhandle, Hurricane Michael entered southwest Georgia as a major, Category 3 hurricane on Oct. 10, 2018. The storm maintained considerable strength all the way to Georgia’s border with South Carolina, bringing extensive damage to homes and businesses, infrastructure, and agricultural industries along its path.
President Trump declared a major disaster for Georgia on Oct. 14. Including subsequent amendments to the declaration, a total of 69 counties are eligible for comprehensive Public Assistance benefits (Categories A-G); individuals and families in 20 counties who suffered loss or damage due to Hurricane Michael are eligible for Individual Assistance. Dec. 13 was the deadline to register for federal assistance.
Disaster Recovery Summary:
- To date, Georgians have been approved for nearly $54.4 million in FEMA grants and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans to help homeowners, renters, and businesses recover. This includes:
- 4,795 survivors have received $11.2 million in Individual and Housing Assistance, including $9 million in Housing Assistance and $2.2 million in Other Needs Assistance.
- SBA has approved 1,740 low-interest disaster loans totaling $43.2 million.
- Twenty-Seven Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) were located throughout the counties for survivors affected by Hurricane Michael. All DRCs are now closed.
- A total of 14,665 survivors visited a DRC.
- FEMA inspectors have completed 19,899 property inspections.
- Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams have visited 40,727 homes and helped register 4,307 survivors.
FEMA continues to work with State and local partners to help communities and survivors recover. Individual Assistance claims are being processed, inspections performed, and checks distributed to approved survivors. Also, Hazard Mitigation Program specialists continue to hold Community Education Outreach programs and work with State and local officials on proposed Hazard Mitigation projects throughout Georgia.
- FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program specialists held Community Education Outreach programs throughout the declared counties, including rebuilding seminars and insurance agency outreach:
- Rebuilding specialists counseled 6,533 individuals at numerous programs located in DRC’s, retail outlets, and special events, giving survivors tips and advice on making homes stronger, safer and better protected from future damage.
- Specialists conducted a total of 406 insurance agency outreach programs, advising agents on claims and inquiries resulting from Hurricane Michael, and encouraging the promotion of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies.
- More than 40 Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) have assisted with response and recovery.
- The American Red Cross operated 11 shelters in Southwest Georgia, providing a total of 2,844 overnight stays for residents and supplied 204,358 meals and 357,023 snacks for survivors.
- In addition, The Salvation Army provided 58,232 meals and 36,355 snacks.
- Several VOADs provided extensive private property debris removal services.
- In partnership with local coalitions, five Long-Term Recovery Committees have been, or are in the process of being, established in the affected 20 counties.
Hurricane Michael caused significant damage to the region’s agriculture sector, especially to the cotton, pecan, timber, and peanut crops, with the Georgia Farm Bureau predicting losses of more than $3 billion.
Meanwhile, Public Assistance project summaries are being prepared and researched for possible funding. Preliminary numbers for Public Assistance are still being processed.
Also, through the Public Assistance program, the State requested assistance for debris removal from the public right of way for 13 counties in southwest Georgia. To date, more than 3.77 million cubic yards of debris have been cleared.
At the state’s request, FEMA transferred more than 1.8 million meals and 52,000 tarps to supplement State and local commodities.
For more information about Georgia’s recovery from Hurricane Michael, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4400.
What’s Next for Georgia?
FEMA will continue to work with State and local officials, private sector partners, voluntary agencies, and other stakeholders until the recovery phase in Georgia is complete. But even as
Public and Individual Assistance claims from Hurricane Michael are processed and Hazard Mitigation projects explored, one of the agency’s primary goals is to build a culture of preparedness—to get everyone in Georgia ready for the next disaster.
Preparedness can take many forms, but on an individual level, it means planning, both personally and financially, to ensure that families know what to do when disaster strikes, and having the resources needed to help repair, rebuild, or replace those things that may be damaged.
Insurance is always the best financial protection. Because most homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, and since floods are by far the most common and expensive type of disaster that people and communities experience, FEMA urges all Georgians to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.