FEMA center busy, leaders ask for FEMA extension - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

FEMA center busy, leaders ask for FEMA extension

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)

Dougherty County's Chairman said he hopes FEMA disaster teams will remain in South Georgia another month.

Commissioners met at Lake Blackshear Friday for their annual retreat to discuss priorities for the community.

The number one issue is tornado recovery.

Commissioner Chairman Chris Cohilas told WALB he has asked FEMA to keep the disaster center open, "I have requested that FEMA actually extend its stay by another 30 days so we can assure that everyone who needs FEMA assistance gets that assistance."

Cohilas is waiting on a response from FEMA.

For now, the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is open on East Oglethorpe Blvd. Saturday from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m., and then from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Monday.

It will close permanently Monday evening, the last day to register with FEMA.

This week alone, 180 people have visited the center.

Surprisingly, several people we spoke with at the center Friday late morning were seeking advice on issues with their insurance coverage, even problems with getting a necessary permit to rebuild.

The staff said they aim to help storm victims problem solve.

"That is why we handle everybody on a case by case basis because people face unique recovery challenges. Some people will have an easier time than others with their recovery, because they have different insurance coverage, different needs they are facing as they move through their recovery," said FEMA spokesperson John Mills.

To date, FEMA has distributed $3.3 million dollars in grants for losses not covered by insurance.

The Small Business Administration has made $8 million dollars in low interest loans.

It is critical for people to be registered with FEMA before Monday night's deadline, especially storm victims that might have continuing needs, like rental assistance.

FEMA will help storm victims after Monday, but they must be registered in the system.

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