Biden approves disaster funds for 7 Georgia counties after tornadoes

A damaged house is surrounded by debris in Selma, Ala., Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, after a tornado passed through the area. Rescuers raced Friday to find survivors in the aftermath of a tornado-spawning storm system that barreled across parts of Georgia and Alabama. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

This story was updated at 9:59 a.m.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says that disaster assistance has been made available to Georgia in areas struck by a tornado outbreak across the South on Jan. 12.

In an announcement Tuesday, FEMA said that President Joe Biden’s action makes federal funding available to people impacted by the storms in Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton, Spalding and Troup counties.

The federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs, FEMA said.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that its crews have confirmed eight tornadoes in Georgia, but the number could change in coming days as the agency continues to survey damage.

FEMA Deputy Administrator Erik Hooks will be in Georgia on Wednesday to meet with state and local officials about the ongoing response and recovery efforts and to survey damage caused by the storms.