Georgia dips into emergency account to fund Irma recovery

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal transferred $3 million from his emergency fund to help pay the up-front costs of sending state resources to help Florida with storm recovery from Hurricane Irma.

The governor shifted the funds to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to pay the tab for the 600 Georgia National Guard troops helping storm-ravaged Florida recover. It could also help fund the costs for 50 Georgia State Patrol troopers to help law enforcement in Florida.

Communities throughout Florida and Georgia are coming together to clean up the mess left by Hurricane Irma.

Georgia officials expect Florida or the federal government to reimburse the state later this year.

Irma slammed into Georgia on Monday, killing at least three people and knocking out power to more than 1.2 million people. Downed trees and flooding cut off scores of roads around the state and left parts of the coast swamped by seawater.

Florida fared far worse, with at least a dozen people dead and millions without power. Millions of evacuees who fled to Georgia and other states began to stream home this week, facing traffic and fuel shortages on their routes.

There’s no estimate yet on the cost of the storm cleanup, but state officials have already appealed to the federal government for financial help. Federal authorities declared a state of emergency in Georgia before the storm, and Deal asked for post-storm assistance after it pounded the state.

The governor is set to take a first-hand look at the storm’s damage on Thursday with stops in Brunswick and Cornelia to speak with local officials and residents about the challenges ahead.

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