Saturday, September 26, 2009

Federal disaster help extended to saturated Georgia

Environment News Service: The heavy rains have stopped, but across northern Georgia much damage has been done. President Barack Obama Thursday declared a major disaster exists in Georgia and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding beginning on September 18.

…The portion of Governor Sonny Perdue’s request covering 12 other counties and aid to governments that sustained damage to buildings and public costs due to the storms is still pending. The disaster declaration does not cover the city of Atlanta, which is located in Fulton County.

Vice President Joe Biden will travel today to Georgia to survey the flood damage by helicopter and then visit with families affected by the floods. Then, he is expected to make an announcement about further federal disaster relief.

On Tuesday, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine estimated the cost of damage caused by the flooding across north Georgia including metro Atlanta at $250 million. "I spent some time surveying damage in affected areas of our state this afternoon, and I believe the damage total will easily reach $250 million," Oxendine said. "Many of the homeowners afflicted by this event don’t have flood insurance."

But Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was quoted in the "Atlanta Journal Constitution" as telling members of the Obama administration that the damage is soaring beyond $1 billion….

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