News & Politics

Albany, Georgia, Had Two Horrific Storms This Month. Trump Offered Aid, Obama Didn't

Damage from Sunday's tornado. Many of the worst areas were blocked off for some time after the storm. Photo courtesy of Jeff Parr.

For residents of Albany, Georgia — like myself — this month has been rough.

As you may have heard, Albany was one of several places hammered by a deadly tornado yesterday. However, you may not have heard about the devastating storm that rocked Albany on January 2.

Storm damage from the January 2nd storm in Albany, Georgia. This was only a tiny portion of what occurred. Photo by Johnathan Summerisle

Storm damage from the January 2nd storm in Albany, Georgia. This was only a tiny portion of what occurred. Photo by Johnathan Summerisle

Tornadoes and straight-line winds trashed large portions of the community. People were without power for weeks. Some people are still without power despite the hard work for those charged with restoring it. Fallen trees litter the landscape.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Christopher Cohilas posted to Facebook that he expects the damage to easily exceed $100 million in losses as he reached out for help:

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.

In his last days in office, the silence from President Obama’s office was deafening, despite Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declaring the region a disaster area.

Commuting Chelsea Manning’s sentence? Plenty of time for that. However, providing aid in accordance with his belief that government can accomplish so much good?

Nope.

Did Georgia being a Trump state have a bearing on this?

Enter Sunday’s storms. Already, President Trump has contacted Governor Deal offering federal assistance to our beleaguered community.

Damage from Sunday's tornado. Many of the worst areas were blocked off for some time after the storm. Photo courtesy of Jeff Parr.

Damage from Sunday’s tornado. Many of the worst areas were blocked off for some time after the storm. Photo courtesy of Jeff Parr.

To be fair, the loss of life always raises the profile of any storm — the storm three weeks ago caused terrible destruction, yet only one death. A person left candles unattended during the power outage and died in the fire that followed.

Yesterday, in contrast, is credited with 16 deaths at the time of this writing, though that number is likely to change. That means an automatic jump in profile.

It’s too early to know the extent of the damage. We do know Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany received some damage, with the guardhouse at one gate blown completely away. Other damage to the base is still being assessed.

For most of my neighbors — dealing with storm damage, injuries, and the loss of life — the politics don’t matter. Today, most of us are offering prayers of thanks that we are unharmed, that our families are fine, or we are thinking of friends or loved ones who aren’t.

But I felt this is a perfect example for the members of the media, the Obama administration, and all of Trump’s opposition that refuses to come to terms with how poorly we’ve been treated.

This is what Trump meant by “the Forgotten Man.” We aren’t forgotten any longer.

Anyone in the region who would like to help, please contact the Emergency Management Volunteer Coordinator at (229) 483-6228.