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Governor Perdue Outlines Georgia's Response to Hurricane Katrina

Wednesday, August 31, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA – Today at the Metro Atlanta Red Cross, Governor Sonny Perdue announced Georgia 's plans for assisting Louisiana , Mississippi and Alabama with disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Governor Perdue also discussed actions taken to address the increasing price of gasoline due to fuel shortages and Georgia 's aid to counties impacted by tornadoes earlier this week. 

Georgia Provides Assistance to Louisiana , Mississippi and Alabama

In coordination with the American Red Cross and local governments, Georgia has opened seven shelters for the benefit of citizens from Louisiana , Mississippi and Alabama evacuated due to the hurricane.  These shelters are located in Atlanta , Fulton County; Newton County ; Dougherty County ; Columbus, Muscogee County; Coweta County and Troup County . Two additional shelters ( Lowndes County and Augusta , Richmond County ) have been identified and will open if needed.

Hospitals in New Orleans are continuing to close due to flooding.  Officials anticipate that up to 400 additional patients will be evacuated to local Atlanta hospitals.  The Department of Human Resources, Public Health Division is monitoring this situation.

Georgia , which is a part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), is sending a four man team from Georgia Office of Homeland Security-Georgia Emergency

Management Agency (OHS-GEMA) to Mississippi to provide Individual Assistance support for two weeks. 

The Georgia National Guard is sending three Georgia Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to the Gulf Region.  The helicopters and aircrews are from Detachment 1, Company F, 131st Aviation Regiment located at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah .  Detachment 1 recently returned from a one-year overseas deployment to Afghanistan where it conducted combat assault and humanitarian missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The CH-47 Chinook helicopter is equipped to carry payloads of more than 10 tons and can move large amounts of supplies and personnel during relief efforts.  The unit's members have participated in numerous hurricane, flood and fire relief operations throughout the United States and are extremely experienced in these types of operations. On board the aircraft, the Detachment will carry relief supplies.

The Georgia Forestry Commission currently has 18 personnel deployed throughout Georgia , Alabama , Mississippi , Louisiana and Texas to assist with clean-up and debris removal.

Disaster Relief for Georgia Counties with Tornado Damage

In addition to providing disaster relief to neighboring states, teams of Georgia state agencies are also responding to tornado damage in Peach, Carroll and White Counties .

Coordinated through GEMA, teams consisting of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia State Patrol and State Board of Pardons and Paroles responded as early as Monday night to provide assistance to tornado victims.  GEMA is currently assessing the tornado damage to determine if the affected counties will meet criteria for Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance. If a SBA disaster designation is approved, homeowners, renters and businesses could be eligible for low-interest loans. 

An SBA disaster declaration will also enable the state's Individual Assistance (IA) program to go into effect, which may provide benefits, such as rental assistance for up to three months and funds for repairs, to applicants who do not meet the SBA criteria.

Georgia's Efforts to Alleviate Rising Gasoline Prices due to Fuel Shortages

Today Governor Perdue reassured citizens that the fuel shortage facing Georgians is a short-term problem.  He announced that Colonial Pipeline, the largest pipeline distributing fuel into Georgia , expects to be operational again by Labor Day weekend.

Governor Perdue has called on the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) to lift truck driving restrictions, thereby allowing deliveries 24 hours a day.  Today DOT approved the request, allowing fuel to be more easily distributed throughout the state. 

Yesterday Governor Perdue announced that the state of Georgia is waiving gasoline regulations to help alleviate gas price escalation and the potential supply issues associated with Hurricane Katrina.  The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is waiving state requirements for higher additive gasoline required during the summer months until September 15.  Waiving this requirement will allow gasoline suppliers to bring available gasoline into Georgia to help alleviate shortages and keep prices to a minimum.

Governor Perdue also asked drivers not to “top off” their gas tanks, and avoid purchasing gasoline until their gasoline tanks are low.  He encouraged Georgia business owners to conserve gasoline by taking advantage of telework and flexible work schedule options for employees.

Georgians Can Help with Cash Donations

The best and easiest way for Georgians to help with this disaster is to make a financial contribution to volunteer agencies assisting in disaster relief.  A cash donation gives volunteer agencies flexibility and allows them to customize their services to the needs of disaster victims. It also enables the voluntary agency to purchase exactly what people need or provide vouchers for victims to buy things for themselves.         

Georgians are encouraged to contribute to the American Red Cross (1-800-HELP NOW), the Salvation Army (1-800-SAL-ARMY), or any of the volunteer organizations in Georgia that respond to disasters.  State volunteer agencies include:

  • Adventist Community Services
  • Church World Service
  • Corporate Response
  • Georgia Baptist Convention
  • Georgia Pharmacy Foundation
  • Georgia Association of Food Banks
  • Habitat for Humanity International
  • Humane Association of Georgia, Inc.
  • Mennonite Disaster Service
  • National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster – Georgia Chapter
  • Georgia VOAD Chapter
  • St. Vincent DePaul Society
  • United Methodist — North Georgia Conference — Disaster Response Ministry
  • United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
  • United Way 211
  • World Vision

Georgians are encouraged to contact their local chapter of any of the above organizations to find out more information about how they can help.