Disaster assistance approved for 4 flood-ravaged counties

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The Alabama counties of Coffee, Jefferson, Montgomery, and Morgan have been approved for Small Business Administration (SBA) loan assistance, after days of tornadoes and floods severely damaged property and commercial infrastructure there.

Three people reportedly died as intense storms flooded much of the state last month when about 14.2 inches of rain fell in some areas. They included one Coffee County man who drowned amid the deluge.

 Gov. Robert Bentley‘s office announced the federal assistance over the weekend.

“Cleanup continues in many communities, and assistance from the SBA will go a long way in helping our communities recover from the tornadoes and flooding experienced in December,” said Bentley, who is usually averse to intervention from Washington.

“There is help available for homeowners, businesses and nonprofit organizations that suffered damage from the storms. From the time the storms and flooding hit our state, to seeking today’s disaster declaration from the SBA, we have been working with affected communities and connecting them with resources available,” Bentley said.

Aside from the four primary disaster areas listed above, the following counties contiguous with those counties are also eligible for some help: Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Lawrence, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marshall, Pike, Shelby, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, and Walker.

According to the governor, the assistance comes in the following forms:

Home Disaster Loans: Renters and homeowners alike may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, appliances, etc., damaged or destroyed in the storms. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition.

Business Physical Disaster Loans: Loans of up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans: If a small business or private, nonprofit organization has suffered economic injury, regardless of physical damage, and is located in an SBA-declared disaster area, they may be eligible for financial assistance of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“We appreciate the Small Business Administration for working quickly to approve Governor Bentley’s request,” Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner said. “AEMA will continue to work with citizens and local elected officials to identify resources that may be available.”

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