Gov. Kay Ivey and U.S. Sen. Katie Britt toured Selma and Autauga counties on Friday to see the damage and devastation left by a long-track tornado that hit both communities on Thursday.
The tornado took the lives of six people in the Old Kingston area of Autauga County and caused “at least EF-3” damage shortly after causing destruction in Selma.
“Our prayers continue to be with Alabamians across our state who were impacted by Thursday’s severe weather, especially those who have lost loved ones, those who have been injured, and those who have lost their homes and livelihoods,” Britt said. “We saw damage and destruction, but we also witnessed the best of Alabama – people from all walks of life coming together to help each other. My office is working alongside our partners in Alabama’s congressional delegation to support Governor Ivey’s request for an expedited federal major
disaster declaration, and we will continue to work to ensure every possible federal resource is made available to affected Alabamians.
“Thank you to the courageous law enforcement officers, first responders, and linemen who have been working tirelessly to serve their fellow Alabamians across impacted communities. We are grateful for the incredible volunteers, like those I visited with today, who are already giving their time, talent, and resources to help complete strangers get back on their feet.”
Sewell, a Selma native, said seeing the damage was heartbreaking.
“I am keeping my constituents and all those affected in my prayers,” Sewell said. “The people of the Black Belt are strong, and we will get through this together.”
Sewell said Friday that she would be working to get federal funding to help in the recovery, and Sunday, President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in the state to open up that flow of funds.
“I’m thankful that President Biden has heard our calls and expedited a declaration of major disaster for the State of Alabama following Thursday’s devastating storms,” Sewell said. “This declaration will free up critical federal resources to relieve, recover and rebuild. I look forward to continuing to partner with Gov. Ivey, Alabama’s congressional delegation, as well as state, local, and community stakeholders to use these resources as an opportunity to build back Selma and all the affected areas better for the people of Alabama.”
“The outpouring of support for our communities has been truly heartening, and I join in thanking everyone who has offered their support now and into the future. This will be a marathon, not a sprint, but rest assured we will come back stronger than before.”
Federal 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 the disaster. Federal funding also is available to State, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the counties of Autauga and Dallas. Lastly, Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Deanne Criswell, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Kevin A. Wallace, Sr. as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.
Damage assessments are continuing in other areas, and additional areas may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas 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.