By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
President Donald Trump has responded to Governor Kay Ivey’s request to declare parts of Alabama as a major disaster zone and offers financial assistance after Hurricane Michael severely hurt parts of Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Mobile counties.
The president is now offering assistance through The Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program that reimburses local governments, state agencies, eligible private non-profit organizations, and electric co-operatives for certain expenses that have occurred because of Hurricane Michael.
“I appreciate President Trump and FEMA for being responsive to our requests for assistance following Hurricane Michael,” Ivey said. “Alabama did not take the brunt of the storm damage, but many people in our state were affected. This public assistance will be very beneficial, especially to the small communities in the Wiregrass that have worked very hard to clear the debris and get power service back up for residents.”
The Wiregrass region of Alabama saw some major devastation to the cotton, peanut and timber crops there with some cotton farmers claiming that their entire crop was lost due to the storm.
Based on its internal barometric pressure, Michael was the third most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland, behind the unnamed Labor Day storm of 1935 and Camille in 1969.
Under the Public Assistance Program, state and affected local governments are eligible to apply for federal funding to pay 75 percent of the approved costs under certain categories such as debris removal and road repair related to the storm. FEMA previously approved reimbursement to state and local governments for costs associated with emergency protective measures taken during Hurricane Nate.
“We are so appreciative of the support we have received from FEMA, our Congressional Delegation and the President for the Governor’s request,” said Alabama EMA Director Brian Hastings. “The Major Disaster Declaration is a huge step in the recovery process and represents the continuation of our strong partnership with FEMA and local governments to connect eligible applicants with Federal assistance to continue on their path to a better tomorrow.”
Senator Richard Shelby also expressed his gratitude with President Trump by sharing the White House’s press release about the FEMA assistance on Twitter today.
Excellent news! This morning, @POTUS approved Alabama’s major disaster declaration request for the counties of Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Mobile – allowing federal assistance for local recovery efforts following storm damage from Hurricane Michael. https://t.co/9toZMeq5lW
— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) November 5, 2018
Representative Martha Roby, whose 2nd Congressional District includes the Wiregrass region also announced on Twitter how grateful she was for the help and that now Alabama could take the steps to start rebuilding.
This morning, President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the State of Alabama, ordering federal assistance to supplement state & local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael. Thank you, @POTUS — we will rebuild together.
— Rep. Martha Roby (@RepMarthaRoby) November 5, 2018
Representatives from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency Recovery Division will explain procedures for requesting assistance at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.
Caroline Beck is a reporter living in Montgomery. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineBeckADN or email her at [email protected].