The April 2011 ‘Super Outbreak’: One Year LaterApril 29 | Posted by editor | Habersham, Lumpkin, News, Rabun, Regional, White Tags: Georgia Emergency Management Agency
Atlanta, GA — This week marks the one year anniversary of a “Super Outbreak” of intensely destructive tornados across Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. A total of 15 tornadoes touched down in Georgia on April 27 and 28, 2011, including an EF-4 and five EF-3 twisters resulting in dozens of injuries and 15 deaths.
“Last spring was an unprecedented season for severe weather, and Georgia was particularly hard hit,” said Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) Director Charley English.” However, our state, federal and local personnel, along with volunteer organizations and the private sector, rose to the occasion and did the kind of outstanding work that we’ve come to expect. The communities have also done an incredible job of overcoming this disaster.”
Governor Nathan Deal issued a state of emergency immediately after the first storms hit, and requested an expedited presidential disaster declaration before touring some of the hardest hit areas the following day. President Barack Obama approved the request on April 30, 2011, clearing the way for federal assistance and funding.
A total of 26 counties were included under the declaration for individual (IA) and/or public assistance (PA): Bartow, Catoosa, Cherokee, Coweta, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Greene, Harris, Heard, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Spalding, Troup, Walker, and White counties (IA & PA); Habersham and Upson counties (IA only); and, Jasper County (PA only).
More than $13 million in federal disaster assistance was distributed to survivors throughout Georgia in the form of grants ($5 million) and low-interest SBA disaster loans ($8 million). Of this, $4 million was provided for housing assistance and $1 million was distributed for other serious disaster-related needs.
The local, state, and federal costs shared through the Public Assistance program has helped local and state governments, and eligible private nonprofit organizations pay for 354 projects, such as debris removal and repairs to public facilities and infrastructure, totaling approximately $26 million, to date.
The declaration also made the state eligible for additional Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) awards, making federal funds available to develop projects and initiatives to reduce the impact of further severe weather events. GEMA is currently reviewing for submission to FEMA more than three dozen HMGP project applications from the declared counties. When approved, these grants will provide an additional $5 million in federal funds to help pay for warning and communication system improvement, Community safe rooms, and local mitigation plan updates.
Dozens of organizations from Georgia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (GaVOAD) were actively engaged in this response and recovery. GaVOAD’s coordination efforts helped ensure the effective deployment of volunteer resources statewide.
A robust local mutual-aid response lead by the Georgia Fire Chiefs, Police Chiefs, and Sheriffs associations and state government’s response with personnel and resources from 15 state agencies quickened the transistion from emergency to recovery throughout affected communities
In addition to local, state, and federal governmental and volunteer organizations, the private sector, the general public, and the government of Taiwan, which made a generous financial contribution, played a major role in carrying out these recovery efforts.
For more information on GEMA, visit www.gema.ga.gov. To learn how to prepare for disaster and create a custom kit and plan, visit www.ready.ga.gov. Follow GEMA at www.twitter.com/georgiaema, www.facebook.com/gema.ohs, and www.youtube.com/ReadyGAfromGEMA.