President Trump approves disaster declaration for south Georgia

ALBANY, Ga. — UPDATE: President Donald Trump declared Wednesday night that a major disaster exists in Georgia and ordered federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts from the severe storms that hit on January 2, 2017 in Dougherty County. The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in that county.

Earlier Wednesday, Governor Nathan Deal toured the devastation in south Georgia caused by deadly tornadoes over the weekend.

It was the second time this month that Dougherty County has been hit by a devastating tornado.

Deal visited the communities of Adel and Albany, among others, as storm victims raised questions about the delay in federal assistance.

Deal told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt he'd tried to spur FEMA's administrator into declaring south Georgia a disaster area so assistance could flood in. After all, what he'd seen from the air indicated such a declaration was a no-brainer.

"I told them this is their opportunity to show what they could do for Georgia,” Deal said. “(We saw) many homes, many trailers that were damaged. Businesses with roofs taken off. It was just a complete disaster in many parts of the areas we flew over.”

Domeka Hicks survived the tornado in her parents’ house on Sanborn Avenue. She's retired but knows many here who lost houses and places to work.

“These are people's livelihoods and they can't go to work; because of it they need help,” she said.

She said those clearing the street were mostly volunteers and neighbors.


Along with the clean-up, search efforts are still underway in some parts. Police are looking for a missing 2-year-old in one Albany mobile home park.

“If FEMA would just come down and look at the devastation, talk to the people, know where their hearts are, they would have to declare something,” Terrika Brantley said.

The governor believes that the presidential transition caused the delay in federal aid.

“It is very clear to see the path the tornado traveled. A very devastating path. Pretty much everything that was in its way was either leveled or severely damaged,” Deal said.

The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that 12 tornadoes also touched down in metro and middle Georgia. They are continuing to survey and believe that number could rise to 16.