FEMA agents help Early County storm victims - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

FEMA agents help Early County storm victims

September 24, 2004

Early County -- Early County was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan, so much so, it was declared a federal disaster area. Now Federal Emergency Management Agency agents are working to get help to residents in the county who need it the most.

Last week, when a tornado that spun off from Hurricane Ivan and blew a hole in the side of Shelby Taylor's dream home she could not believe it.

"Waited 10 years to get, finally got it, and then it's gone, but we'll get it back," remarked Taylor, hours after a tornado almost knocked down her house.

And helping the dozens of others, like Taylor recover from the damage tornados did in Early county will be the job of FEMA agents in town this week.

"They are out knocking on doors, putting flyers up to make sure everyone impacted by the storm knows to do registration through the phone system to see if they are eligible for any funds and grants," says Gary Rice of GEMA.

FEMA funds will help storm victims in this disaster area pay for uninsured damages and temporary housing needs. Adding their names to a long list of people in need of help after Ivan. "I would ask the people to be patient, the process may take 10 or 14 days or even longer but just be patient and know that help is out there," says Rice.

Shelby Taylor still hasn't moved back into her dream house, but she has documented and reported all her damages and expenses to FEMA.

"When disaster like that happens you don't know which way to go. You don't know if insurance will cover everything, and it is comforting to know there are other methods out there to cover," says Taylor.

Workers bringing comfort and help to the people who need it the most. If you live in Early County and want more information about filing a claim, call the FEMA hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA.

Destructive tornados that swept through Early County during Hurricane Ivan took many residents by surprise and left some asking where were the warning sirens. Early County EMA Director Ray Jerrett says the number of tornados spawned by Ivan is more than four times the number the county might see in a year.

On top of that, he says the county simply can't afford to install all the warning sirens needed to cover the county. "It could possibly be done in the city but it would just to expensive to be done over the entire county," Ray Jerrett EMA director for Early County.

Jerrett says the sirens cost about $10,000 each, and officials would need enough to cover more than 500 square miles in the county.

posted at 5:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com