Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday will tour damage from the storm that killed at least 15 people in south Georgia and five more across the region, making stops in the hard-hit cities of Adel and Albany on a trip that will also include meetings with first responders and an aerial look at the devastation.
The visit comes as south Georgia leaders and residents have implored the federal government for more help. Deal said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken an initial step to clear the way for more funding for the area, though his office said a statement from the city of Albany that FEMA had approved the emergency declaration was inaccurate.
The governor will be visiting a part of the state still reeling from a double-whammy: A Jan. 2 tornado left $50 million in damage around the Albany area, and then the weekend’s deadly storms – which killed four people in Dougherty County alone – left the region in further need of assistance.
Taking stock of the wave of storms, The Albany Herald wrote that residents “could be excused for feeling that there was some cosmic effort to wipe the area and city from the map” and pleaded to the White House for aid.
“President Donald Trump ran on a platform of being a man of action, one who will cut through regulations. We hope that is one campaign promise he will keep in the case of this regional disaster. If ever action was needed, this is the time,” read the editorial.
“Yes, we will rise,” it concluded, “but we sure could use a helping hand just now, Mr. President.”
Deal said he’s confident Trump and his administration would approve the emergency requests “very quickly.” For good measure, his office said he asked the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, to expedite the disaster declaration.
Georgia officials, meanwhile, set about to free up more state resources for the storm recovery. Deal declared 16 counties in a state of emergency and said more than 250 state employees were working to clear debris and provide other disaster relief to victims of the storm. And Georgia lawmakers shifted $5 million in additional cash to Deal’s emergency fund.