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Local disaster assistance center open

More than 60 area residents braved gloomy weather on Thursday for advice and information on the opening day of a FEMA/GEMA/SBA disaster recovery center in Cordele.

The local center will be open at the Crisp County Government Center’s parking lot until Tuesday, October 30. Federal and state personnel will be on hand at the center to help survivors of Hurricane Michael apply for disaster assistance and get answers to their recovery questions.

Representatives with the Small Business Administration will also be available to provide local businesses with information about low-interest recovery loans.

According to FEMA spokesperson Gerard Hammink, nearly 24,000 Georgians have contacted FEMA for assistance, and more than $3.9 million in individual assistance has been approved. County-by-county numbers are not yet available.

“Personally I’ve never seen so many downed trees in my whole life, and I am amazed at the number of snapped trees,” Hammink said. “Being from the Midwest, where we have tornados, I’ve seen a lot of trees that have been uprooted, but the snapping is something new to me.”

If possible, survivors should register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center. The quickest way to apply for federal assistance is online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

The Cordele center will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. except on Sunday, when the center will be open from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Individual disaster recovery assistance is available for residents of Crisp, Baker, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, and Worth counties who experienced damage caused by the hurricane.