Biden declares Alabama emergency following tornadoes

US President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Alabama after at least nine people died in tornadoes that destroyed homes and knocked out power to tens of thousands in the US Southeast this week.

Biden ordered federal aid to supplement regional recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on 12 January.

According to the statement, the President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Autauga and Dallas.

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 non-profit organisations 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.
At least five tornadoes touched down in central Alabama on Thursday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jessica Laws.