published Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

FEMA centers closing in North Georgia

Federal Emergency Management Agency employee Angela Demerath works Monday in the Disaster Recovery Center in Catoosa County, Ga.
Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Federal Emergency Management Agency employee Angela Demerath works Monday in the Disaster Recovery Center in Catoosa County, Ga. Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Almost one month after the April 27 tornadoes swept across North Georgia, the state’s remaining three Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Recovery Centers are scheduled to shut their doors Thursday, officials said.

FEMA’s centers in Catoosa, Dade and Floyd counties will close permanently at 6 p.m. Thursday. Until then, the centers will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

About $3.7 million has been doled out to Georgia residents affected by the storms, FEMA’s figures show. At this point, 893 people have registered for aid in Catoosa County and 776 have registered in Dade.

The centers, opened days after the tornadoes ravaged the region, are closing because their role largely is completed, officials say.

“There’s no set formula to determine when these centers close down. Frankly, it’s determined when people stop coming in,” FEMA media spokesman John Treanor said.

Treanor said all local emergency management officials are consulted before the decision is made.

He emphasized that people still can register for assistance through the agency’s helpline and website.

“Our role will continue to be inspecting those who register and making sure people know they should register whether they think they qualify,” he said.

STILL NEED HELP?

Anyone needing further assistance can call FEMA’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). People with speech or hearing disabilities may call TTY 1-800-462-7585 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. Help also is available online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

Treanor said that, though some of the FEMA workers stationed in Georgia will be reassigned to tornado-stricken regions in Missouri, the closing of the Georgia centers was not affected by that disaster.

“We’ll be [in Georgia] until there’s no need for us anymore,” Treanor said.

Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at kharrison@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.

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