Spalding County tornadoes: FEMA disaster recovery center opens to ease residents' 'nightmare'

FEMA opened a disaster recovery center Wednesday at the Senior Center in Spalding County to help families impacted by tornadoes Jan. 12.

"I just feel like I’m in a nightmare and I just want to wake up," Pine Grove Mobile Home Park resident Kayla Garrett said.

The mobile home park was one of the hardest hit areas by the storms. Garrett said she will never forget that day.

"Tree branches started flying--Hail, wind--and I’m praying," she said.

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Storm damage caused by a tornado on Jan. 12.

From: FOX 5 Atlanta

A tree fell, damaging her roof and the wall of her kids bedroom. Luckily, Garrett and her family are still able to stay there.

"The tree that hit here if it was just a little bit longer, it would have went through," Garrett explained.

But it has not been easy. Garrett says her family has been without water for weeks.

"We had to go without water for twelve days. We have a little bit of water now, very little pressure," she said.

New FEMA disaster recovery center opens in Spalding County. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Garrett’s family has registered with FEMA to start repairs like many others did Wednesday at their new center at the Senior Center in Griffin. There, people can register for help and learn more about services available to them.

"A lot of people may be uncomfortable talking about their cases over the phone or unable to get online. This gives them that personal contact," FEMA spokesperson Nate Custer said.

"This FEMA stuff can be kind of confusing for some folks. They’ve never been through this before, and they may just be getting a handle on what’s going on and what type of help they may get," Custer explained.

And while recovery will take time, Garrett said every little bit of assistance helps her and her neighbors.

"I’m just glad that they’re safe, and they’re alive, and we all made it through," Garrett said.

FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center in Spalding County will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. If you had damage in another county under a disaster declaration, you are able to come to the Spalding County location for assistance.