President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for three Georgia counties on Thursday after Hurricane Idalia hit southern and coastal Georgia on August 30. The storm made landfall in Florida’s remote Big Bend region with winds of 125 mph before moving north into Georgia.
Biden initially approved aid for individuals and governments in Cook, Glynn and Lowndes counties.
Lowndes County, home to the city of Valdosta, suffered the worst damage. Estimates indicate that 80 homes were destroyed and 835 homes suffered severe damage as winds reached speeds of nearly 70 miles per hour.
DESANTIS HAMMERING THE CLIMATE CHANGE ALARMISTS IN UNCERTAIN CONDITIONS IN THE AFTERMATH OF IDALIA
A man in Valdosta died when a tree fell on him as he tried to clear another tree from a road, sheriff’s deputies said.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, in a letter sent Wednesday, called for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for governments in 30 counties and individuals in the three counties Biden approved and added Appling County.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency expects more counties to be added and additional types of assistance to be provided.
Florida has also suffered three Idalia-related deaths. After Idalia, Biden initially approved assistance to seven Florida counties and added six more.
“This assistance will quickly be put to good use to help those affected by Hurricane Idalia,” Kemp said in a statement. “We will not stop demanding more aid until every county in Georgia that suffered damage receives a federal disaster declaration and the relief Georgians deserve.”
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Assistance for individuals may include cash to pay for temporary housing and repairs, as well as low-cost loans to repair uninsured property. For local governments and electric cooperatives, FEMA will help reimburse debris removal costs, pay emergency responders, and repair public infrastructure.
Kemp estimated that Georgia governments have suffered at least $41 million in damage to public infrastructure, well above the $19 million threshold required statewide for a disaster declaration.
Individuals and business owners in the tri-county area can seek assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by phone at 1-800-621-3362 or through the FEMA app.