As community works to rebuild, FEMA reaches out to Georgia tornado victims

Tornado damage to home in Georgia
Tornado damage to home in Georgia
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 12:48 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Sandra Howard remembers what she came home to on Jan. 12.

“Trees were everywhere, debris, I had no flashlight, I said I’ve got to make it home, so I walked down, stepping on debris. I don’t really know what I might’ve stepped on,” she said.

Her home was spared from the severe storm that brought tornadoes to the north and middle Georgia, however, she said she lost power for days.

“The resources came through and gave us some water and food, so we were able to have those things,” she said.

But her neighbors bore the brunt of the storm.

“I just thank goodness that they survived,” said Howard.

The Indian Creek Mobile Home Community in Locust Grove is just one of the many devastated by the severe weather. Now, they are beginning the rebuilding process.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is in the region, reaching out to those in Henry, Butts, Meriwether, Spalding, Newton, Jasper, and Troup counties.

“Folks from FEMA will be going door to door in some of these devastated neighborhoods to advise folks that they need to register,” said Nate Custer, media relations specialist with FEMA.

Custer said the agency can help with some things not covered by insurance.

“If it’s repairable, they’ll fix some holes in the wall or roof so the family can move back in and have a roof over their heads,” he said.

FEMA can even help with temporary housing. Custer said just because you registered for help with your local agency, doesn’t mean you are in the FEMA system, so you’ll have to register directly with them. For many, a long road to recovery lies ahead, but neighbors like Sandra Howard are just glad to see each other alive.

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.

“We as people take things for granted, and when those things are not there you begin to realize,” said Howard.

“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.

If were affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes, you are encouraged to document the damage and register for disaster assistance.

For help, apply at or call 800-621-3362