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President Biden declares major disaster in Cook, other counties

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Georgia and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Idalia on Aug. 30, 2023.

The President’s initial action made Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Cook, Glynn, and Lowndes.

“This would not be possible without Johnny West and Cook County Fire Department/Emergency Management Agency (EMA) collecting data and the citizens self reporting damage,” Chase Daughtrey stated.

Governor Brian Kemp later announced 25 additional Georgia counties affected by Hurricane Idalia are now eligible to apply for disaster assistance. The disaster declaration now covers Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Bullock, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Echols, Emanuel, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Lanier, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Thomas, Tift, Ware, and Wayne Counties for Public Assistance.

Cook County sustained an estimated $400,350 in damages from Hurricane Idalia, according to the request for Major Disaster Declaration for Georgia sent from Gov. Brian Kemp to President Joe Biden. Idalia caused major damage to eight homes and destroyed two homes in Cook County alone, according to the Initial Individual Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessment Worksheet. 

Lowndes County had the most estimated damages in Georgia at $12,851,400. Idalia caused major damage to 835 homes and destroyed 80 homes in Lowndes. 

Other estimated damages for neighboring counties: Berrien, $600,525; Brooks, $600,525; Clinch, $2,101,500; Colquitt, $400,350; Echols, $4,500,000; Lanier, $3,851,500; Tift, $400,350; and Ware, $1,198,794.

Cook, Glynn, and Lowndes Counties now include Categories C-G: permanent work, which is already designated for Individual Assistance, and assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

Individual Assistance can fund individual and family recovery efforts, which may 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.

Public Assistance is available to state and local government entities and qualified not-for-profit organizations. It will provide financial aid for debris removal and emergency work.

Individuals in these designated counties can apply for assistance in any of the following ways:

Online at

Calling 800-621-3362

For more information on the Major Disaster Declaration or Public Assistance, please email, and for Individual Assistance, email

Ms. Judy M. Kruger has been appointed to coordinate Federal recovery operations in the affected areas. 

Hearts with Hands Inc. donated a pallet of boxes containing nonperishable food items, according to Cook County EMA. Volunteers delivered the food boxes from the Emergency Operation Center to those who who were affected by the hurricane and requested the help. 

FEMA Individual Assistance teams were on the ground in Cook County. They had addresses that had reported damages and were stopping by. Even if you did not do a self-report, if you had damages, they would stop by your residence and offer assistance.  

They had FEMA shirts on and had a FEMA ID badge when they went to your house. They were not in marked vehicles, though.

Representatives of the FEMA Individual Assistance Program are located at the Cook County Extension Service Office, located at 206 East Ninth St., Adel.

They can assist you with the enrollment process for storm damage. They will be there daily 8 a.m. until 5 pm. Please stop by and see them if you need help with enrollment or have questions. 

Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance has also been approved for Cook County. For more information, please go to

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