SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia has requested the federal government to pick up the full cost of tornado repairs in Spalding and Butts counties, the state emergency management agency said in a release on Thursday.
According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), its federal counterpart - FEMA - typically covers up to 75% of reimbursement costs for a federally declared disaster.
"However, in instances where local government's ability to absorb the costs exceeds their resources, the state can request 100% reimbursement," a GEMA release said.
The request came at the direction of Gov. Brian Kemp, according to the release.
GEMA says that debris removal and emergency response to the Jan. 12 tornado outbreak has so far exceeded $15 million in costs.
"With resources stretched thin following the COVID-19 response and multiple instances of severe weather and tornadoes in 2021 and 2022, the request is essential to providing adequate assistance to Georgians struggling to recover from the disaster," the GEMA release said.
Gov. Kemp said in a statement that he wants to make sure Spalding and Butts "have the resources needed to return to normalcy and that we do all we can to remove any bureaucratic barriers in their way."
"Spalding and Butts Counties received catastrophic damages from the storms, impacting both lives and livelihoods significantly,” Kemp said. "Additional assistance from FEMA will help us in this effort and directly benefit families in need.”
In January, an EF-3 hit Spalding and other nearby counties, primarily impacting the city of Griffin. At least two other tornadoes hit parts of the county as well. Parts of Butts county were impacted by an EF-2 and other smaller tornadoes.