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Area flood-relief efforts continue

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that President Barack Obama had issued a Federal Disaster Declaration for individual assistance, to aid residents of Cobb, Paulding, Douglas and Cherokee counties in efforts to recover from deadly flooding earlier this week.

"The recovery is just now beginning," Perdue said. "We have a great deal of work to do, and I appreciate President Obama's approval of the disaster declaration. We will continue to work closely with FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] as damage assessments continue and further assistance becomes available."

According to the governor's office, the federal declaration will cover individual assistance and can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be available to cover some losses not fully compensated by insurance.

"The help announced today from the federal government will be for individuals that have sustained some losses on an individual, case-by-case basis," said Perdue Spokesman Bert Brantley. "While that will help some people, it probably won't make them whole. So, the work of non-governmental agencies and organizations will be very instrumental."

Several organizations announced this week their support for flood-relief efforts in the Atlanta region.

On Thursday, Wachovia-Wells Fargo announced that the Wells Fargo Foundation would be contributing $50,000 to the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross to support the disaster-relief efforts.

"Our hearts reach out to our friends, neighbors and customers whose lives have been turned upside down by the flooding," said Jerome Byers, Atlanta Regional president for Wachovia. "Through the Red Cross and its volunteers we know they will receive excellent assistance. We truly appreciate their efforts."

According to Wachovia-Wells Fargo Spokesman Jay Lawrence, the donation will help support local emergency initiatives and efforts to assist displaced families in metro Atlanta and other affected parts of Georgia. Lawrence said Wachovia-Wells Fargo will work one-on-one with customers affected by flooding to explore case-by-case assistance.

Individuals may be able to help flood victims as well, according to Kroger Spokeswoman Sara McDonald Barksdale.

Barksdale said Kroger grocery stores throughout Georgia will be collecting monetary donations from customers and associates this weekend to assist The Salvation Army Georgia Division in providing food, water, clothing, cleaning supplies, and other necessities, to flood victims.

"With more than 30,000 residences affected by the recent severe weather and floods, every donation really makes a difference," said Glynn Jenkins, communication director for Kroger's Atlanta Division, which also donated $50,000 in gift cards and two truckloads of water to The Salvation Army.

Jenkins said Kroger customers will have the opportunity, through Sunday, to make monetary donations to the disaster-relief efforts by "rounding up" their Kroger purchases to the nearest dollar, or by donating what they have to give.

Metro Atlanta's Publix Super Markets are also accepting cash donations at their cash registers, through Oct. 13, according to Publix Spokeswoman Michelle Simmons. Simmons said the donations will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to disaster victims.

"Having these businesses and nonprofits help with disaster relief comes at a great time," said Brantley, the governor's spokesman. "Next week will be Hands On Georgia Week, an opportunity for the community to pull together in the wake of disaster.

"This is a great time to offer our help and volunteer," he said. "To see people pull together and offer help like this is very refreshing."