President Donald Trump, joined by National Security Council Deputy Chief of Staff Joan O’Hara, talks to Gov. Nathan Deal about Hurricane Michael aboard Air Force One on Oct. 10, 2018. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President Trump issues disaster declaration for Georgia, orders federal aid for Peach State

Trump to visit Georgia with First Lady Monday and survey storm damage

Issued Sunday, the president's decision makes federal funding available to people in Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Miller, and Seminole counties. That funding can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs.

Federal funding will also be made available to state and local government agencies and nonprofit groups on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the the following counties: Baker, Bleckley, Burke, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Pulaski, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth.

Georgia residents and business owners can begin applying Monday for assistance by registering at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Meanwhile, Trump and first lady Melania Trump were preparing to visit Georgia Monday to survey hurricane damage. The couple was also slated to tour the wreckage from the storm in the Florida Panhandle.  

“Will be leaving for Florida and Georgia with the First Lady to tour the hurricane damage and visit with FEMA, First Responders and Law Enforcement,” Trump said on Twitter early Monday morning. “Maximum effort is taking place, everyone is working very hard. Worst hit in 50 years!

Vice President Mike Pence is expected to visit south Georgia towns damaged by the storm on Tuesday, although his office has yet to confirm those plans. He had scrapped a trip to Atlanta last week because of the hurricane. 

Trump spoke with Gov. Nathan Deal on Saturday to discuss recovery efforts. The president “expressed his concerns and said the federal government is fully available and committed to helping state and local agencies,” the White House said. 

Trump declared a state of emergency in Georgia on Wednesday, a designation that allows the state to tap into federal money, debris removal and other services to supplement local cleanup and rebuilding efforts. 

The Category 4 storm made landfall in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday afternoon and pounded portions of southern and Middle Georgia with rain and wind. It was the first major hurricane to enter Georgia since 1898, according to Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz. 

Michael has killed at least 19 people, including 11-year-old Sarah Radney in Seminole County, and left at least 400,000 Georgians without power. It has also devastated crops in southern Georgia, including cotton and pecans. Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black estimated the damage could take a $1 billion toll on the state’s economy. 

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Black took an aerial tour of the damage earlier Sunday. 

The Associated Press and staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this article.

Read more: Hurricane Michael in Georgia: Damage by the numbers

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