Help is coming for Lowndes County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Help is coming for Lowndes County

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - After $200 million in storm damage, Valdosta-Lowndes County is relieved to receive a federal disaster declaration. The region will receive both public and individual assistance.

County and city leaders are already at work, putting plans into action to help those whose homes and businesses were damaged.

Leaders from Lowndes County and Valdosta spoke about receiving a declaration of disaster from the president- news that seemed like a long time coming.

 "It's relieving to get notification from the president and FEMA that they'll be here on the ground, speaking on a one-on-one basis with our displaced home owners," said Valdosta Mayor John Fretti.

Home owners MUST apply directly to FEMA. County leaders say they are grateful homeowners will be getting some help.

 "We really didn't know what to expect," said EMA Director Ashley Tye.  "We were cautiously optimistic. We felt pretty confident we were going to get the public assistance. It was really up in the air-- it wasn't really clear if we were going to get the individual assistance."

The county's public assistance will come in handy. Three bridges received significant damage, and one was lost completely.

 "The worst thing is the Skipper Bridge- it did actually, as they would say-- rolled. It actually tilted downstream," said Board of Commissioners Chair Ashley Paulk.

Plans to help storm victims are already in the works. A disaster recovery center will soon open at the Lowndes Civic Center.

The disaster recovery center will be set up here at Building 'A.' Services from multiple agencies will be available, making it sort of a one-stop-shop for flood victims.

But before ANY assistance can be offered, those in need must take the crucial step of applying directly to FEMA.

Apply at www.disasterassistance.gov  or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)

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