Valdosta residents rally to clean up and support one another after Idalia

Valdosta business gave food to the community
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 12:27 AM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - WALB is continuing its coverage of Valdosta and Lowndes County, one of the hardest hit areas by Idalia in South Georgia.

“I think unity is everything. I hate that it has to be a disaster before unity. So to see people giving out food and helping people out, it means a lot,” Valdosta resident, Tyissha Nitae.

While some businesses were impacted more than others Nicolas Perry, owner of Ella’s Top Corral in Valdosta, experienced major flooding and a roof detachment. Through it all, he has been out since 7 a.m. Thursday morning feeding the community.

“We’re just trying to give food to our community. Those who don’t have food right now, who don’t have power, who don’t have resources to get what they need, we are out of power, we don’t have anything, so I decided to use what we currently have to give it away. Let’s just give it away. Let’s just push it on out,” Perry said.

Hurricane Idalia has forced people to find resources around the community.

“I have a 12-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 6-week-old, so like the tree fell in between me and my 12-year-old bedroom. And then another tree fell on top of my bed where my 6-week-old sleeps at. So it was a lot, but we were able to get out the house, and I stayed with my best friend and her mom last night, so now we have to get a hotel room for the next couple of nights,” Nitae said.

According to Lowndes EMA, at the height of outages, around 95% of the community lost power. Homes and even streetlights are still off around town, and it could take days before they are restored.

Lowndes County was one of the hardest-hit counties in South Georgia by Hurricane Idalia.

“I was prepared to be without power, but it could be Saturday or Sunday, maybe even into next week, so I’m not really ready for six days without power.” Robert Clark, a Valdosta resident, said.

Major businesses like Walmart and Publix are still closed, and If you drive around downtown Valdosta, you’ll see restaurants boarded up. And that’s what’s causing a huge impact on families.

“I’ve dealt with a couple hurricanes growing up like we had Irma my freshman year of high school in 2017, but compared to this, this is the worst damage I’ve seen by far,” Baker Knight, a Valdosta resident and college sophomore, said.

“I just hope they get everything back up because like soon as possible. I want everything to go back to normal, to be honest,” Lauron Smith, a Valdosta resident, said.