FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hurricane Idalia Release #10-9/08/2023-1:30pm
LOWNDES COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
DATE: Friday, September 8, 2023
CONTACT: Meghan Barwick, Public Information Officer
Hurricane Idalia Release #10-9/08/2023-1:30pm
Lowndes County, Georgia: Lowndes County has experienced significant damage from Hurricane Idalia, and relief and recovery efforts have begun. On behalf of Lowndes County Emergency Management Director Ashley Tye, here are the latest updates regarding Hurricane Idalia. We are extremely proud of the resilience and strength displayed by our community since Hurricane Idalia hit. We will continue to work together to rebuild and emerge stronger than ever before. We understand that this is a challenging time for our community, but we are committed to working together to rebuild and recover from Hurricane Idalia.
Lowndes County Emergency Management has been notified that the federal disaster declaration has been approved by President Joe Biden for Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts, making public assistance available for Lowndes County residents.
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 Hurricane Idalia.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in Lowndes County 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.
FEMA officials are expected to arrive soon to provide assistance in response to Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts. However, as of now, FEMA officials are not yet on the ground in Lowndes County. Once they arrive, a Disaster Recovery Center will be set up in our community. Once we have more information about the specific location, dates, and times, it will be shared through city/county websites, social media, and local media outlets.
FEMA does not provide direct services to include debris removal. FEMA may reimburse local governments who pick up debris from the right of way, but FEMA does not send people in, and they do not reimburse homeowners for debris removal. For the residents in the unincorporated area of Lowndes County, debris removal contracts have been activated, and work has begun. Residents should move debris to the right-of-way. The right-of-way will be cleared as quickly as possible. Do not place household garbage, bags, construction and demolition debris, fences, or anything else that is not from a tree with yard debris. There are no length requirements on trees for the unincorporated area of Lowndes County.
If you live within city limits, please contact your city for instructions on debris removal.
The City of Valdosta has diligently been working on debris removal throughout city limits. Beginning Sunday, September 10, City residents will begin seeing a heavier presence of debris removal trucks due to the activation of contractors. Residents should make sure yard debris is cut down to six feet or under sections and try to keep logs separated from yard debris. Residents should move debris to the right-of-way. The right-of-way will be cleared as quickly as possible. Do not place household garbage, bags, construction and demolition debris, or anything else that is not from a tree with yard debris.
There is a massive amount of debris, and it is going to take a long time to get around to everywhere, but we are already beginning the process of engaging additional resources to help us through the process. They will also likely have to make several passes through each area to collect everything, bear with our teams, and don’t feel like you missed out if they come by and you still have stuff that needs to get to the road.
Local governments cannot go on private property, though. We can only pick up what is in the public right of way. Private subdivisions should deposit all yard debris in one central location. It will be collected via coordination with private subdivision HOA representatives.
There are many volunteer groups in Lowndes County, and Lowndes County Emergency Management is coordinating with them. Crisis Cleanup has activated a private property, property debris cleanup, and home repair hotline for residents who need assistance cleaning debris from private property. The hotline number is 1.800.451.1954.
To ease the financial burden in the wake of Idalia, both Lowndes County and City of Valdosta Utilities Department will suspend all late fees and water cut-offs from now through October 31st.
For more information, contact:
Lowndes County Utilities Department at 229-671-2500
City of Valdosta Utilities Department at 229-259-3592
DAMAGE AND REPAIRS
If your home or business needs repair, please make sure that anyone working on your property is a licensed contractor. Licensed contractors should be able to provide a copy of their occupational tax certificate (business license), proof of insurance, and a contract that outlines the work to be done, the cost, and the time by which the work will be completed. A reputable contractor should not ask for payment upfront.
All contractors and subcontractors are required to have the proper license per the state of Georgia, have the proper occupational tax license for Lowndes County, and have proof of insurance.
Citizens with damage should contact their insurance agent for directions on obtaining estimates. Renters should contact their landlords. Anyone without insurance is private pay. Criminal Investigation teams from Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire, John King’s office, are in Lowndes County investigating reports related to price gouging and/or construction fraud.
To report suspected fraud to the Office of Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety:
- Fraud Tip Line: 404-463-0953
- Email: CID@oci.ga.gov
- Mailing address: OCI Criminal Investigations Division, 2 Martin Luther King Drive, Suite 720 West Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Crisis Cleanup has activated a private property, property debris cleanup, and home repair hotline for residents who need assistance cleaning debris from private property. The hotline number is 1.800.451.1954.
Adventist Disaster Services has opened a Donations Management Center at Mathis City Auditorium through September 17, 2023, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Attached to this email is a list of common items needed by disaster survivors.
Gift cards work great as they allow the survivors to purchase exactly what they need while placing money back into our community, but any of these items are needed and welcomed.
𝐍𝐎 𝐂𝐋𝐎𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐈𝐓𝐄𝐌𝐒 𝐖𝐈𝐋𝐋 𝐁𝐄 𝐀𝐂𝐂𝐄𝐏𝐓𝐄𝐃.
Those who wish to donate cash should consider donations to one of the organizations that are supporting efforts here in Lowndes County. You can find a list of choices at gavoad.org.
Lowndes County Emergency Management is establishing a Volunteer Reception Center. Any individuals or groups looking to volunteer are encouraged to register at the Volunteer Reception Center. Individuals will be placed with a group based on their specific capability. Groups will be given assignments based on known needs and also matched according to their capabilities. Groups who want to register just need to send one representative, and they can register the entire group. The Volunteer Reception Center will be open on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10, 2023, from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Valdosta-Lowndes Parks and Recreation Authority Multi-Purpose Room, 1901 Barrack Obama Blvd., Valdosta, Georgia.
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