Federal partners aid Hurricane Idalia survivors as Lowndes Co. residents continue recovery

The Disaster Recovery Center assists Hurricane Idalia survivors from Lowndes County and surrounding counties.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:16 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Residents affected by Hurricane Idalia can begin to see recovery efforts from the federal government.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has set up the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to assist Hurricane Idalia survivors in Lowndes and surrounding counties.

The DRC has representatives from FEMA, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, other state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the U.S. Small Business Administration to assist survivors.

“Normally, when people come for assistance, it’s normally for physical property damages, either a home or a business,” Sharon Gadbois, SBA public affairs specialist, said.

FEMA disaster recovery center
FEMA disaster recovery center(WCTV)

“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible that need the assistance. We really encourage people to come out and take advantage of the disaster recovery center,” Nikki Gaskins Campbell, FEMA media relations specialist, said.

Some Hurricane Idalia survivors are still displaced due to the significant damage to their homes. Those residents with extensive damage who applied for assistance were denied because of their insurance.

JaTaryia Thomas is one of the Hurricane Idalia survivors who was unable to qualify for FEMA assistance due to her insurance coverage.

“It’s really disheartening when you have resources supposedly coming to the community, but when you go to them, you get denied,” Thomas said. “And the insurance, they are still assessing. So we’re kind of like stuck because we don’t know how long we’re going to be in the hotels, how it’s going to take to rebuild.”

The family of six is living in a hotel until their home is rebuilt from hurricane damage.

JaTaryia and her family were left without clothes, medication and other essential items, because of the heavy damage to their home.

The family of six is living in a hotel until their home is rebuilt from the hurricane damage.

“I am grateful that we do have shelter over our head and we do have a bed to lay in, but at the same time, you work very hard to be able to afford the amenities that you like. It’s a very humbling experience,” Thomas said.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says that those who do not qualify for FEMA assistance are able to apply for a loan to help with recovery.

“Even though you’ve applied with FEMA, doesn’t mean you’ve applied with SBA because what may happen is you apply for FEMA first then they refer you over to SBA,” Gadbois said.

“Where FEMA cannot make you whole that’s when we will refer you to our partners and SBA is such a huge partner in this,” Gadbois. said.

The Disaster Recovery Center allows residents to apply for assistance, review application status updates, receive guidance about disaster recovery and eligibility, clarification and guidance about disaster recovery and eligibility, or collect and scan new information or documents to their case files.

The Disaster Recovery Center will operate seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Lowndes County Civic Center.