NEWNAN, Ga. - U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., said on Saturday they would request the federal government declare the EF-4 tornado that ravaged areas of Newnan a major disaster.
The senators visited areas of Newnan devastated by an EF-4 tornado about three weeks after the storm. A major disaster declaration could provide relief in the form of federal funds and resources from FEMA. Ossoff and Warnock said they would brief emergency management officials on Monday about what they saw and request federal aid.
"Sen. Ossoff and I are going to do everything we can to make sure the federal government steps up," Warnock said.
All emergency and major disaster declarations are made solely at the discretion of the President of the United States. Warnock said the senators will convey the devastation and needs they saw in a letter to President Joe Biden.
Ossoff said the senators observed destroyed homes and prayed in an exposed living room with a person displaced by the tornado.
"It has been ... deeply moving and deeply humbling to see the power of nature and the damage that's been done to so many homes," Ossoff said.
Ossoff and Warnock spoke to news outlets at Newnan High School, one of the public buildings hit hardest by the tornado.
"Know that we will continue to be present, both in prayers and hopefully in the delivery of as many federal resources that we can make available," Warnock said.
Officials said one person died from a heart attack during the storm on March 26. Numerous homes, businesses and the high school have extensive damage.
Officials reported 1,744 homes were impacted by the destructive tornado with 70 homes being destroyed and about 120 of those sustaining major damage.
Gov. Brian Kemp also visited the city on March 27. Kemp spoke briefly with news outlets at Newnan High School after seeing the damage, mostly to assure locals that state agencies were going to see through the cleanup efforts in Newnan and across Coweta County.
Kemp offered condolences to the community of Newnan and those across the south affected by the storm and said state agencies would contribute resources to help the community rebuild.
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