GEMA says progress is being made - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GEMA says progress is being made

March 5, 2007

Americus -- The Georgia emergency Management Authority website says that recovery efforts in Americus and Sumter County are proceeding as planned.

The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC)is scheduled to open today at 12:00 noon. States of Emergency from Governor Perdue remain in effect for Baker, Clay, Crawford, Columbus-Muscogee, McDuffie, Mitchell, Stewart, Sumter and Taylor Counties. A Presidential Federal Declaration for Sumter County is also in effect.

Sumter County Administrator Lynn Taylor said "Our citizens need personal hygiene items, baby diapers and food, all sports of paper products, paper plates and plastic cutlery, individually canned food in small portions that don't need refrigeration."

Leather work gloves, plastic trash bags, and cleaning supplies are in high demand. Used clothing is not being accepted.

The Seventh Day Adventists are manning a recovery center at the fair grounds, at 903 Adderton Street. They will receive donated goods, and monetary contributions. Cash is needed for residents to buy some supplies, also.

The focus has changed from getting people out of their homes to re-establishing a living routine. Taylor says the county appreciates all the volunteers who have come to feed people. She says the best way folks can help is to donate food and goods mentioned earlier, and of course, cash donations will be put to good use, at the fairgrounds location.

The GEMA/FEMA recovery center is located at Rucker Street and U.S. 19. FEMA's Gene Romano says, "The Small Business Administration is here to provide low interest loans to businesses, and to renters. There are also food stamps available, disaster unemployment; just a wide variety of governmental services, almost like a Mega-center to bring people, to give them an opportunity to come in."

"If people have unmet needs, they need to come here," Romano said. "You do not need to come here to apply for disaster assistance. That can be done on the phone at 1-800-624-3362, from 8AM to 8PM, seven days. You can apply online at www.fema.gov ."

"Some people want to talk face-to-face, and that's something they appreciate, and we want to provide that service to them. We are trying to collect all the agencies at one location for them," Romano said.

A Georgia Baptist feeding unit is supporting the ARC at First Baptist Church in Americus. It served 1,000+ meals Sunday. Two clean up and recovery units, one communications unit, one supply unit, and one operations unit are located at Southland Academy, 123 Southland Road, Americus.

Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Americus tells us that will be providing hot meals for storm victims. Serving will start at 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. This event will be held Tuesday, March 6th and Thursday, March 8th.

Emergency Childcare will begin operations at the Disaster Recovery Center, Gertrude Davenport, Inc., Building at 1607 Martin Luther King Boulevard in Americus.

Adventist Community Services have set up a donated goods warehouse at the Americus-Sumter Exposition Center, 903 Adderton St., Americus GA. 

In addition to the mobile hospital being erected at 151 Mayo Street, Americus, the private organization "Heart to Heart" has deployed a 53 foot mobile medical center across the street from Sumter Regional Hospital. This facility will be used by several of Americus' private physicians. 

Georgia Power has restored electricity to all but 500 customers in the Americus area. Some of the crews that have completed restoration work are now conducting clean and sweep operations as well as confirming that all customers able to receive power are connected.  All other areas impacted by Thursday night's storms have been restored. 

Georgia EMCs are reporting that power has been restored to all of their customers.

This GEMA map shows the counties with storm damage. Those counties in yellow received damage, those in orange are covered by the governor's state of emergency declaration, and the one county in red, Sumter, is part of the president's disaster declaration.

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