2009-05-20 / Community

Georgia Disaster Aid approaches $2 million

ATLANTA - A week after a federal disaster declaration due to storms and flooding in southern Georgia, more than $1.9 million in assistance has been approved to help individuals and households with disaster losses. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the numbers recently.

Anyone in 17 counties with losses caused by severe weather in late March and early April may be eligible for aid.

"We expect to see substantially more federal help as additional Georgians register and get into the system," said GEMA Director Charley English.

Here are details about the assistance provided through May 1:

FEMA approved $1,991,020 to assist individuals and families with disaster-related housing and repair costs and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance. Of this amount, $1,924,864 is disbursed. ·636 individuals, households and businesses have registered with FEMA.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued 367 applications for disaster loans to individuals and businesses. The SBA provides disaster loans to homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses of all sizes.

·290 people impacted by the disaster have met with recovery specialists at seven temporary Disaster Recovery Centers set up by FEMA and GEMA to offer in-person help for individuals with disasterrelated needs.

·Housing inspectors have completed more than 73 percent (383) of the 525 requests for inspection of disaster-damaged property. Turnaround time from registration to inspection averages less than two days.

Individuals can register with FEMA online at www. DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling toll free 800- 621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are staffed seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time. Help in all languages is available.

Federal Coordinating Officer Terry Quarles said, "FEMA's number one mission is to help people receive all the assistance to which they are entitled."

In addition to Individual Assistance, 41 counties are eligible for the FEMA Public Assistance program, which provides financial assistance to local, state, and tribal governments and eligible non-profit organizations for disaster-related cleanup and repair of damaged infrastructure and facilities.

Those counties in our area include Baker, Calhoun, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Miller, and Mitchell.

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