Bush declares Sumter County major disaster - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bush declares Sumter County major disaster

March 4, 2007

Americus -- President Bush declares Sumter County a major disaster area, freeing up federal  money, as residents in Sumter county are still cleaning up the damage.  

The Thursday Night Storms killed nine people in Georgia including six in Baker County and two in Americus.  Dozens of homes and businesses in Sumter County were destroyed.        

With the Federal Declaration, FEMA will begin dispensing federal disaster aid to the state to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas struck by severe storms and tornadoes.  The assistance will include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses.     

Low -interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.     

Surveys of the damage continues in other areas affected by the deadly storms and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed in the affected areas.

While Sumter county is the only Georgia county to receive the federal declaration, Governor Perdue has declared a state of emergency in six Georgia counties: Baker, Clay, McDuffie, Stewart, Sumter, and Taylor. Initial estimates on the damage in Georgia was $35 million.  That number is sure to climb when a new estimate is expected.

FEMA advises residents and business owners who've sustained losses from the deadly tornados to begin applying for assistance starting Monday.  Victims can register on-line through FEMA'S official website or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.     

The toll free number will operate from 8AM to 6PM Monday through Saturday.    

If you need help filing insurance claims, Contact the Georgia Insurance Commissioner's Consumer Services Division at 1-800-656-2298.  They'll also help if you have questions about a claim or if you're experiencing difficulty reaching your insurance company.       Phone lines are open from 8AM to 7PM, Monday through Friday.

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