Kemp, state officials request federal assistance for North Ga. flood victims
SUMMERVILLE, Ga. (CBS46) - On a tour of flood-damaged parts of Chattooga County Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp and other state leaders fielded questions from homeowners and business owners about whether any government assistance is coming their way after a 500-year flood wreaked havoc on their communities.
Kemp said the state is doing everything in its power to help get flood victims back on their feet.
“I know this has been tough economically for this community and tough on their families,” Kemp said at a news conference after the tour. “Kids are not in their classrooms right now because we don’t have water availability in the schools and obviously parents are dealing with bigger issues right now.”
Chris Stallings, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, said the state is requesting federal assistance on behalf of flood victims.
“We have been in contact with FEMA,” Stalling said. “We are requesting [representatives from] the Individual Assistance Program to come and do assessments. They should be on the ground either this evening or tomorrow.”
Stallings said the state has also requested that the Small Business Association send representatives to assess the situation to determine if business owners will qualify for SBA low-interest, government-backed loans.
The Georgia Rural Water Authority has representatives in Summerville, Stallings said, to help get the town’s water treatment plan up and running again. He said the plant still has a large amount of silt-debris buildup. Once the debris is removed, officials will be able to better assess the damage and begin the process of getting clean water flowing again.
At the news conference, the Chattooga County school superintendent said schools will likely remain closed at least through the end of this week. With no running water to prepare meals or flush toilets, the school system is totally dependent on the water treatment plant situation, he said.
When asked about Summerville’s storm drains, which reportedly backed up again Tuesday night, flooding at least one downtown shop, Mayor Harry Harvey said city crews have been working on the drains for several months. They’ve also been trying to clear a nearby creek for better drainage, he said, but added that last weekend’s heavy rains were just too much for the system to handle.
Stallings said a state hazard mitigation team is in Summerville. He said the state is also working with the Corps of Engineers to facilitate some changes and address some of the problems they’re seeing with drainage in the city of Summerville.
Kemp urged business owners to reach out to the county’s EMA director who will serve as their contact point with for any state or federal assistance.
Watch Wednesday’s news conference:
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