FEMA: 900+ People in Autauga, Dallas Counties Have Asked for Tornado Recovery Help

Federal, state and local leaders held a briefing on tornado recovery efforts on Tuesday afternoon in Selma.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency say so far, more than 900 people have applied for federal help in Autauga and Dallas counties. They expect that number to rise.

As Alabama News Network reported on Sunday, only those in Autauga and Dallas counties are eligible for this aid. But Alabama EMA Director Jeff Smitherman says as more damage assessments are made, it is likely that people in other counties will be added.

FEMA has more than 80 people working on tornado recovery efforts in Alabama. Some are going door-to-door to register people for help. Others are preparing to open disaster recovery centers, where information can be taken to get the federal aid process started for those with uninsured losses.

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U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Alabama) and U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) share a hug as they address tornado recovery efforts in Selma, Tuesday, January 17, 2023 – Alabama News Network

There are several ways to apply for FEMA disaster relief:
– Go to www.disasterassistance.gov
– Download the FEMA app on your phone
– Call (800) 621-3362 from 6AM-10PM CST seven days a week

FEMA says people can get financial help as soon as 24-48 hours after registering. Representatives say if there is a paperwork error, the claim might be denied but to be patient and to contact FEMA for help with the process.

State and local leaders joined FEMA representatives to express their thanks.

“We’re a resilient people here in Selma,” U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) said about those in her native city. She offered her thanks to the State of Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey and President Biden.

“Thank you to the president for how quickly he approved and turned around this declaration,” Alabama EMA Director Jeff Smitherman said. That declaration is what brought FEMA to Alabama.

They were joined by Alabama’s new U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Alabama). Sewell said Britt is having a “trial by fire” as they both pledged to work together in Alabama and Washington to help with recovery efforts.

“I want to thank President Biden for the speediness in which he paid attention to this community,” Britt said, also thanking Gov. Kay Ivey for touring the damage within 24 hours after the tornadoes hit and for the first responders and volunteers who are working around the clock.

“I just want to say thank you,” Selma Mayor James Perkins, Jr. said as he outlined ways in which the tornado hurt Selma beyond the visible damage.

He says homes that were lost result in property tax losses. Utility connections that were lost mean lost franchise fees. The 90+ businesses that were destroyed will hurt sales tax collections.

“We saw God’s power and His grace,” Perkins said about what happened last Thursday. He says the power was reflected in the strength of the tornado. The grace was shown in the fact that no one in Selma was killed.

Categories: Montgomery Metro, News, West Alabama