Albany Tornadoes: “The Most Under-Reported Disaster”

The following is a plea posted to Facebook by Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas. It’s been more than two weeks since the Albany Georgia area was hit by tornadoes and hurricane force winds. We reported on some of the problems of getting children fed last week. That, unfortunately, remained an unsolved issue until the students went back to school today. At this point, the needs remain great. If you’re in a position to help, please do. If you can help shine light upon the needs, please do that as well. There’s a phone number to coordinate resources at the bottom of his message.

Albany Storm Damage

To my Atlanta friends and colleagues–this is important. This is not a chain post or some touchy-feely request. It is important.

I want to personally express the extreme tragedy that has taken place in Albany-Dougherty County and which has received zero media attention from anyone other than local news outlets. January 2nd at 10:15 pm Albany was struck by hurricane force winds in the form of tornadoes and “straight line winds”. 32 square miles of massive debris. 30,000 households initially without power. Many, including myself did not get power back until 10 days later. More than $22 million in uninsured government and infrastructure losses. More than $30 million in personally insured losses. Countless millions in individual uninsured losses. The number will easily go far above and beyond $100 million. Pecan farms destroyed. Massive agriculture losses.

Many are still without power because their homes cannot receive it. More than 450 families are currently displaced. More than 1,000,000 cubic yards of debris removal from trees which have been dropped on people’s homes, vehicles, roadways, etc. We expect and hope to be declared a federal disaster area soon. #FEMA

People down here often refer to “two Georgias”–Atlanta to Macon, and then south of Macon. We often feel forgotten down here. Unfortunately, this disaster has not helped with that perception.

Albany Storm Damage

This has been called by one of the national charities who have responded as the most under-reported disaster they have ever serviced. It is truly a travesty. News media draws resources and volunteers. We have received some great volunteers, but it is not enough. State resources have been provided (and we are very thankful) but they are inadequate to address our community’s needs. If you have the ability to influence media, and or share this information within your spheres of influence, I would ask that you do so. I serve as the County Commission Chair down here, and I have a lot of people who are hurting. It is sad.

Our community has gone to social media and posted photos of the carnage. Those photos have been made publicly available. Search by the hashtags #HelpAlbany. Trust me…you will be blown away. Visit my page Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairman and view the damage and the people’s needs.

This disaster struck everyone, poor, rich, black, white, old, and young. It should be noted that we have some of the poorest people in the country that live here as well. The entire community is hurting. The needs are great and changing every day.

If you can find a way to help, please do it. If you serve on a charity, please consider steering it our way. If you can steer media coverage down here, do it. If you are in a position to help, please do. We have an Emergency Management Agency which can help coordinate the delivery of those resources. Please call them at 229.483.6226, 6227, or 6228. They will receive your call and gladly coordinate your kindness.

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