Feds declare a disaster for deadly south Georgia storms

The federal government approved another emergency request on Thursday for aid for residents in six counties struck by the wave of storms that left 15 people in Georgia dead.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said the assistance could include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help victims recover. FEMA has yet to decide on extending the aid to another 10 counties.

FEMA on Wednesday approved a separate, earlier request for help for the Jan. 2 tornado that struck Albany, leaving behind $50 million in damage.

Gov. Nathan Deal lobbied President Donald Trump to expedite the request after a tour of the storm-ravaged areas across southwest Georgia.

"Total devastation," a visibly shaken Deal said after touring a mobile home site in Adel where seven people died. "It's hard to imagine that anyone escaped from that."

More than 770 state employees are clearing debris and providing storm relief, and state lawmakers have set aside an additional $5 million to help with the recovery. But local leaders were hoping President Donald Trump's administration sends more help. Quickly.

“We’re helping the victims meet their immediate needs,” said Eric Gordon, a pastor at Adel First Assembly. “But we need help for the long-term needs. Where are they going to live long-term? Where are they going to sleep next week?”

The FEMA order means federal funding will also be available to some state and local government agencies as well as some private nonprofits for their emergency work.

It covers residents and businesses in six counties: Berrien, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Turner and Wilcox.