Americus and Sumter Co. continue the clean up - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Americus and Sumter Co. continue the clean up

March 12, 2007

Americus-  The number of Georgia tornado victims applying for government help continues to rise. According to the latest numbers, 1,337 Georgians have applied for assistance with FEMA and GEMA, nearly 80-percent of them 1,092 are in Sumter County.

Forty-six people have applied for help in Baker county and 35 in Mitchell County. Between FEMA and GEMA, they have distributed $266,408 in aid to those affected. Home inspections continue in all of the affected counties. GEMA has inspected 540 homes so far, but more than 1000 Georgia homes were damaged.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle arrived in Americus Monday with his work clothes on ready to lend a hand. Cagle said he's been briefed all along on the situation in Americus, but Monday he wanted to help the community in person. 

Cagle toured heavily damaged Sumter Regional Hospital and then was ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work.

"We're also going to serve lunch for some people, we're also going to get a chainsaw and clean some of the debris and bring a team down to really be as helpful as we possibly can," said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.

Cagle also got a tour of some of the hardest hit neighborhoods and said the state is doing all it can to help everyone recover.

It could still be several weeks before structural engineers know what will be done with Sumter Regional Hospital. Now, administrators are stepping up their effort to find temporary buildings for doctors and hospital staff. Inside Sumter Regional Hospital, clean up crews are making progress. Monday, we got another chance to go back inside the hospital. Hallways that were heavily littered with debris days after the storm have been somewhat cleared. Hospital President and C.E.O. David Seagraves said an effort is on to secure local buildings or bring in more temporary buildings so doctors and hospital staff will have a place to work.

There is no longer a curfew in effect in Sumter County. Monday, city and county leaders decided to lift it. In an effort to prevent looting and other mischief, a curfew has been in effect since the tornado hit on March first. Americus Police Chief James Green said he wanted to lift the curfew while he still has extra law enforcement officers on hand.

"Through the weekend we did scale back some of the units, some of the crews, and that's part of the reason the sheriff and I discuss taking the curfew up, while we still have plenty of law enforcement on hand we can assess the situation without the curfew to make sure that we have plenty of resources to handle any potential problems if they do crop up," said Americus Police Chief, James Green.

Chief Green said he doesn't anticipate any problems and appreciates the cooperation people have shown toward law enforcers.

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