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Biden Announces Major Disaster Declaration for Alabama

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This image taken with a drone shows tornado damage, Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Selma, Ala. (DroneBase via AP)

The Birmingham Times

President Joe Biden on Sunday declared a major disaster in the State of Alabama and ordered Federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes on January 12.

Selma sustained heavy damage during Thursday’s severe weather outbreak.

The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in Dallas and Autauga Counties. The FEMA disaster declaration fact sheet can be viewed here.

“I’m thankful that President Biden has heard our calls and expedited a declaration of major disaster for the State of Alabama following Thursday’s devastating storms,” said U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07).

Meanwhile, Birmingham and Hoover sent a total of 24 public works employees to assist with storm clean up on Saturday, January 14.

Ten Hoover employees traveled to Selma with generators, tents, cots, skid steer loaders and a boom truck. Fourteen Birmingham employees provided heavy equipment including a limb loader truck, dump trucks and a fuel truck. The combined crews will clear heavy debris from roadways.

“Our hearts go out to our friends in Selma. We are providing assistance and will continue to help meet their needs as we learn more,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said. “We deeply appreciate the partnership of the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County Emergency Management in this effort. Our prayers are with Selma and all affected areas of Alabama.”

“When Selma’s mayor called asking for support, we did not hesitate to build a team to help in their time of need,” Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said. “Our DPW crew combined with a crew from the City of Hoover stand ready to help the people of Selma begin the road to recovery.”

The combined crews began work in Selma early Saturday morning.

Sewell said the President’s declaration will free up critical federal resources to relieve, recover and rebuild. “I look forward to continuing to partner with Governor Ivey, Alabama’s congressional delegation, as well as state, local, and community stakeholders to use these resources as an opportunity to build back Selma and all the affected areas better for the people of Alabama,” Sewell said.

She continued, “The outpouring of support for our communities has been truly heartening, and I join in thanking everyone who has offered their support now and into the future. “This will be a marathon, not a sprint, but rest assured we will come back stronger than before.”

Federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding also is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the counties of Autauga and Dallas.

Lastly, Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Deanne Criswell, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Kevin A. Wallace, Sr. as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Damage assessments are continuing in other areas, and additional areas may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Anyone using a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, can give FEMA the number for that service.

The following FEMA fact sheets are linked below:

Sequence of Delivery

Individual Assistance

Individuals and Households Program

Hazard Mitigation Assistance

Public Assistance