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FEMA Georgia flood assistance hits $40 million

FEMA and GEMA officials tour a flooded mobile home community along Douglas County Sweetwater Creek, Georgia. Federal assistance to the state has now topped $40 million.
Agency officials walk past flooded mobile homes along Douglas County Sweetwater Creek, Georgia
Emergency management agencies's focus turns to long-term recovery

Two weeks after a federal major disaster declaration for parts of Georgia swamped by heavy rains and flooding, the emergency response is winding down and the focus of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has turned to long-term recovery.

"The response of local, state and federal partners has been quick and sure," said GEMA Director Charley English. "The first of 14 Disaster Recovery Centers opened the day after the disaster declaration and all of them were up and running within a week."

About 500 people have been moved from emergency shelters to longer-term housing, in part because of housing assistance payments.

"FEMA issued the first disaster assistance payments the day after the declaration," English said. "In addition, during in the first two weeks, nearly 12,000 payments totaling nearly $40 million were made by FEMA."

While a lot of work has already been done by governments and volunteer organizations, there is much more to do, said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech: "All of us - individuals, local leaders, GEMA and FEMA staff - are now turning to the long and, frankly, difficult job of repairing roads, replacing bridges and rebuilding neighborhoods. And that is a job that is going to take patience, as well as time and money."

Szczech reminded individuals they can still register with FEMA online at or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are staffed seven days a week, 7 am until 10 pm until further notice. Help in all languages is available.

She also urged homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes to return completed Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan applications. The low-interest loans are a major source of money for repairs and replacement of flood-damaged real estate and personal property.

The 17 counties under the disaster declaration for Individual Assistance are Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker.

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