(Atlanta)-April 3, 2009-- Today Governor Sonny Perdue issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in ten additional counties affected by heavy rain and severe weather that passed through Georgia last Friday and Saturday.
The counties are Atkinson, Ben Hill, Brooks, Calhoun, Coffee, Berrien, Decatur, Early, Lowndes and Mitchell. Previously, Baker, Colquitt, Miller, Tift, Turner and Worth counties were declared to be in a state of emergency. The additional counties are experiencing road disruptions on over 50 percent of their roads. Twenty-three school systems remained closed on Friday.
"This weekend's storms continue to disrupt our citizens' lives in South Georgia," said Governor Perdue. "The state will continue to respond quickly and to assist those in the impacted areas."
The state will offer personnel and equipment assistance to the 10 counties.
"As with all disasters, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) will work with state agencies, utility companies and volunteer organizations to coordinate disaster response and recovery activities and serve our citizens," said GEMA Director Charley English.
Assessment teams will continue to work to determine the full scope of the damage to businesses, residences and public facilities. Agencies standing by to assist local communities include GEMA - Office of Homeland Security, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
GEMA is the lead state agency for coordination of emergency and disaster response activities. For more emergency information, visit GEMA's Web site at www.gema.ga.gov. To learn how to prepare for disaster, visit www.ready.ga.gov .
The text of the Executive Order is below:
Whereas: On March 27, severe weather began to the affect the State of Georgia, causing torrential downpours and severe thunderstorms, resulting in flooding in the following counties: Atkinson, Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Coffee, Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Tift, Turner, and Worth. Rivers are continuing to rise and overflowing the banks; such flooding is forecast to continue through the next several days; and
Whereas: It is necessary to amend the State of Emergency issued March 30 to include the following counties: Atkinson, Ben Hill, Brooks, Calhoun, Coffee, Berrien, Decatur, Early, Lowndes, and Mitchell; and
Whereas: Said heavy rains and flooding has caused major destruction and damage to roads, bridges, culverts and other public and private properties in the above-mentioned counties; and
Whereas: The assistance of the government of the State of Georgia is necessary to protect the public health, preserve the safety of the public, keep property damage to a minimum, and to restore the social and economic welfare of the citizens in the above-mentioned counties; and
Whereas: In light of these circumstances and in conjunction with the authority vested in the Governor by virtue of Article 3, Section 38-3-51, of the Georgia Emergency Management Act of 1981, as amended to promulgate reasonable orders, rules and regulations as are deemed necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare, and to bring the emergency situation under control within the acknowledged limitations of the powers of the Governor;
Now, therefore, pursuant to the authority vested in me as Governor of the state of Georgia, it is hereby
Ordered: That a State of Emergency exists in the above mentioned counties, and that personnel and equipment resources of the State of Georgia be made available to assist in the response and recovery activities currently being undertaken in the above mentioned counties, and that the Georgia Emergency Management Agency activate the Georgia Emergency Operations Plan.
This 3rd day of April, 2009.