COOK COUNTY, Ga. — President Donald Trump is offering federal assistance after Georgia’s governor declared a state of emergency in 16 counties.
Georgia emergency management officials believe a massive tornado hit several counties and stayed on the ground for at least an hour, causing 15 known deaths and dozens of injuries.
Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Dougherty, Mitchell, Turner, Wilcox and Worth counties were added to an emergency declaration Monday.
At the state Capitol Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal said he had a conversation with President Trump on Sunday afternoon.
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“I want to thank President Trump for giving me a telephone call yesterday to tell me that he was aware of what was happening in our state, and that he stood ready to provide assistance to us,” Deal told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot.
State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Camden County, is a south Georgia lawmaker.
He said his area suffered only minor damage but in Berrien County, he lost his high school health occupation teacher Ann Nix and her husband.
“She was a very compassionate person. A lot of people in our community there in Berrien County knew her and what kind of person her and her husband was, and it was just a sad loss for our community,” Spencer told Elliot. “We know we can get through this as a community through the providence of God.”
Deal said FEMA assessors are already on the ground working to get information so he can make a formal request for a federal emergency declaration.
Until then, he's praying for the victims.
“Our thoughts and prayers, of course, are going to be with the families of those who have lost loved ones and family members as well as those who are injured and are in the process, hopefully, of recovering," Deal said.
The governor had no timeline for making the official request for federal aid, but he would like to do it before the end of the week.
Deal said he plans to visit the affected areas in the coming days.
State agencies assisting in the seven counties include:
- GEMHSA, which is coordinating all disaster response
- Department of Public Heath, which has deployed trauma trailers
- Georgia Search and Rescue Task Force 2 (Valdosta)
- Department of Natural Resources
- Department of Public Safety
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