In this Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, photo, a man walks through debris at a home that was damaged by severe weather in Adel, Ga. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)
Photo: Branden Camp
Photo: Branden Camp

Albany aims for FEMA help for storms

The federal government took an initial step Tuesday to approve an emergency request for assistance for the first of a wave of storms that killed at least 15 people in south Georgia and five more across the region, according to Albany officials.

Gov Nathan Deal’s office said it was waiting to hear back from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. An Albany spokesman initially said FEMA has confirmed it will receive federal help after the Jan. 2 storms, which caused $50 million in damage, but Deal’s office said that was inaccurate.

FEMA’s decision would free up more funding and resources for the storm-ravaged area, and it comes after south Georgia officials and residents implored the federal government for more help with the recovery from the deadly storms.

Channel 2's Linda Stouffer reports.

Deal earlier said he received word from FEMA that it completed assessments for a volley of storms that struck the Albany area earlier this month and that “we have every reason to expect the second request will be granted and approved very quickly.”

Dougherty County officials said they felt abandoned by FEMA after the Jan. 2 tornado, and that Sunday’s storms - which left four in the county dead - only made matters worse.

Deal, who is set to visit the storm-damaged areas on Wednesday, said he’s confident President Donald Trump and his administration would respond. For good measure, his office said he asked the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, to expedite the disaster declaration.

Meanwhile, Georgia lawmakers on Tuesday shifted $5 million in additional cash to Deal’s emergency fund and the governor has declared 16 counties in a state of emergency. More than 250 state employees are working to clear debris, provide shelter and disaster relief.

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