FEMA officials announce information on applying for assistance due to tornadoes

Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 12:19 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - FEMA officials announced information on how to apply for assistance due to the tornados that hit multiple areas in Georgia and what to expect after submitting your application.

Officials say if you live in Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton, Spalding, or Troup counties and were affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes that occurred on Jan. 12, you are encouraged to document the damage and register for disaster assistance.

FEMA officials may be able to help those who live in the hardest hit areas such as Griffin, and the aforementioned areas with temporary housing expenses, basic home repairs, and other essential disaster-related needs that are not covered by insurance.


According to officials, to apply for assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA app if you have a smartphone, or call 800-621-3362. The helpline is open, and help is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in most languages. If you use a relay service, such as a video relay (VRS), captioned telephone, or other services, give FEMA the number for that service.

FEMA will ask for:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted.
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • A general list of damage and losses.
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit.
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent, and/or the company name.

Crews continue assessing the damage left by the tornadoes across Georgia. The deputy administrator of FEMA assessed the destruction on Jan. 18.

“Oftentimes people find out that they are underinsured, so they have a financial gap in their recovery,” said FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks.

For those who cannot or may not be able to safely live in their homes due to severe damage, FEMA may potentially need to perform an inspection in person or virtually.

In Spalding County alone, officials say more than 2,300 homes were damaged and more than 100 homes were destroyed.

President Joe Biden recently approved a major disaster declaration for seven Georgia counties impacted by the severe storms and tornadoes. The declaration came less than 24 hours after Gov. Brian Kemp sent a request to FEMA.