Congressman tours flood-affected areas - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Congressman tours flood-affected areas

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Second District Congressman Sanford Bishop made his rounds through three counties Second District Congressman Sanford Bishop made his rounds through three counties
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Governor Sonny Perdue is preparing information for President Obama, asking him to declare southwest Georgia a federal disaster area.

Evacuations continue in eight counties as damage estimates continue to pour in. In Colquitt County alone, 208 roads remain underwater.

GEMA inspectors are just beginning to make their way through those devastated areas to get a true picture of how much the clean up will cost.

The county has brought pumps in to move out some of the water that's been plaguing the Radial Subdivision neighborhood. It's so GEMA can begin to move into these neighborhoods and get a better picture of how many homes have damage.

Tuesday, Second District Congressman Sanford Bishop made his rounds through three counties trying to get an idea of just how bad all the damage is.

It's been five days since the Haywoods slept in their own bed. This is the fourth time their home along Old Georgia Three's been flooded, now they want a permanent fix.

"We've been flooded before and it keeps happening ove and over again and the problem is not being solved," Glorida Haywood said.

Congressman Bishop told Haywood that fix could come from stimulus money. He's touring the damage and making sure communities like Mitchell County don't miss an opportunity.

"This unfortunate weather occurences has allowed us, has uncovered some real needs, certainly drainage needs and infrastructure that would help us to have a more efficient distribution of water when we have weather like this," said Bishop.

Damage assessments have begun in many flood ravaged areas and Mitchell County tops the list of damaged homes with over a thousand. In Tifton 20 homes have been destroyed and in Coffee County five homes were lost. Commissioners say it reinforces the need for help.

"It eases some of the concerns, shows them we are working with someone we're not just here, we're working with the federal government with the state government and GEMA and FEMA are in the county today helping also," said Mitchell County Commissioner Benjamine Hayward.

Mitchell County's also on the list of five counties with more than 400 miles of roadways needing repairs. While Congressman Bishop says the numbers are devastating, they don't have to be.

"One of the big points of the stimulus package is to help communities all across America, certainly communities like southwest Georgia to increase its infrastructure to the capacity of meeting these types of needs so people don't get flooded."

Congressman Bishop plans to tour the Radium Spring area here in Dougherty County along with Grady and Decatur Counties. He's encouraging commissioners to make sure they attend stimulus meeting next Wednesday and Thursday to apply for money that could prevent future problems like this.

While GEMA has started individual damage assessments, public assessments for the counties will be conducted once all of the flood waters have receded.