Community rallies together as thousands still without power

DOCO Commission meeting

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Over 50 different faith-based organizations are working to help people in South Georgia communities after Hurricane Michael left thousands without power.

And even more are without basic needs, like food and water.

Dougherty County officials have called Hurricane Michael an unprecedented event for the area, calling the storm the worst natural disaster the county and city have ever seen. The community and city and county officials have gathered together to help each other. There are still thousands without power, food and water. The EMA, along with Good Samaritan groups like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are working to feed all of those who are without. They are asking the state for any and all assistance they can, including support to be able to feed the estimated 30,000 people here who have not been adequately fed since the storm. There are also over 200 linemen and crews who have been working for the past 8 days straight to try to get all of the debris picked up and all of the power restored that they can. If you need storm related assistance, call the EOC at 229-483-6226. There are people there who are going out to help the elderly, as well. I’ll have more from officials and on how you can get assistance at 4, 5 and 6 on WALB News 10.

Posted by Grason Passmore WALB on Monday, October 15, 2018

WALB was at the old Coca Cola Factory on Pine Avenue on Monday. The center is welcoming supplies as well as working to get food, water and ice out to those in need.

Samaritans Purse is one organization offering free debris removal to residents.

There are also several churches in town working with county officials to get the word out that they can help homeowners and others who need it. Like the Southern Baptists Relief and Sherwood Baptist Church.

The Salvation Army also has five canteen locations where you can go to receive hot meals.

The Emergency Management Agency also has point of distribution centers open where you can get food, ice and MREs.

But it’s not just these organizations and county and city officials who are putting in the long hours to make sure the community is fed and sheltered.

“All of these different things you don’t always see in a community, especially a community that’s been so hard hit, you know this is the fourth declared disaster in less than two years, so our community is working really hard to be self sufficient, to take care of our friends and family so we want to support them every way we can,” said EMA Director Jenna Chang.

Chang said that she has seen countless people hold barbecues and cookouts in their neighborhoods. All in efforts to feed each other, offering a sense of community in a time of disaster.

But there’s something else residents can do to help aid in disaster relief.

“We’re encouraging all citizens to apply for FEMA aid. It will help us long term. The data collected during that time, whether you’re approved for aid or not, it is important, critically important for everyone to at least apply,” said Interim County Administrator Mike McCoy.

This is in efforts to show state and federal organizations like FEMA and GEMA just how devastated the region is.

They look at these pictures and documents when determining how much money they’ll give Dougherty County to aid in disaster relief.

Officials also want to encourage you to keep posting pictures and videos to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #MichaelAlbany.

They said we really want to show state and federal officials the extent of the damage suffered here.

More than 200 linemen are here in Albany to help restore power. They have been working for the past eight days straight. And they aren’t stopping anytime soon.

City Manager Sharon Subadan said that the crews are going to restore everything that can be restored.

She said if you have a weather head that was destroyed, your power will take longer to restore than everyone else’s.

Subadan also said that 11 miles of fiber were damaged in the storm, meaning many will be without internet as crews work to restore the fiber as well.

But this leaves a communication problem throughout the city and the county.

Many are concerned after not being able to get in touch with elderly family members after the storm.

Officials have set up a point of distribution center to provide food and water to those without after the hurricane. And they’re going straight to those who can’t leave their homes.

“If you have a senior citizen or a loved one that you haven’t heard from, we’ve actually gone up to people’s houses and asked them for their cell phones and recharged them with our cars. So they can have cell phone service. Provided them with a snack, water or whatever it took because we want to let our citizens know that we care about them and we’re trying to help them,” said Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul.

If you have a friend of family member you haven’t been able to get in touch with, or someone you know can’t leave their home to get supplies, call the Emergency Operations Center at (229) 483-6226.

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