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Major disaster declared for 7 Georgia counties following tornadoes

The disaster declaration includes Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton Spalding and Troup counties.

ATLANTA — Seven Georgia counties are now under a major disaster declaration, as established by Gov. Brian Kemp.

The governor's office announced Tuesday that residents impacted by the Jan. 12 tornadoes, severe storms and straight-line winds are now eligible to apply for FEMA disaster assistance. This declaration includes Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton, Spalding and Troup counties. 

"The declaration will provide resources to help cover the costs of the severe storms and tornadoes that took place on Jan. 12," Georgia Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Stallings said in a news release. "It will be a great benefit to the communities in efforts to recover from this event."

RELATED: 'I can't imagine the fear' | GEMA director surveys tornado damage

Residents can apply for individual and public assistance.

Individual assistance may include grants for temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. There are also other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the storms.

Public assistance is primarily for state and local government agencies and qualified not-for-profit organizations. The help would come in the form of financial aid for debris removal and emergency work.

Here's how to apply for FEMA assistance after Georgia tornadoes

People who live in the designated counties can apply for individual assistance online at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or utilize a TTY may call 800-462-7585.

The helpline is open and help is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET in most languages.

Storm victims are asked questions about their property damage and the impact of storms in the application. 

When you apply for assistance, have the following information ready:

  • 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

For a video on how to apply, click here. 

Those impacted may be eligible to receive assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses from tornadoes.

FEMA encourages impacted residents with homeowners, renters or flood insurance to file a claim as soon as possible. 

The government agency explained they cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. Residents may be eligible for federal assistance if their policy does not cover all of their disaster expenses. 

FEMA recommends residents take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Those impacted should remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

For information on Georgia’s disaster recovery, click here

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