Editor's Note: This was originally posted on June 9, 2011 on Fast Lane, the official blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The photos are from the FEMA photo library, for the latest on the recovery efforts in Alabama, visit the disaster page.
Posted by: Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation
The storms that hit Alabama on April 27 swept across the northern portion of the state in 42 counties, with tornadoes cutting huge paths as much as a mile wide.
Tuesday, I toured the devastation in Alabama with U.S. Representatives Spencer Bachus and Terri Sewell, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Cooper, and Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.
I must say, it’s simply heartbreaking, and our prayers go out to the families affected.
Tuscaloosa, Ala., June 1, 2011 - A damaged area in Tuscaloosa.
We at DOT salute the tireless first responders, the dedicated clean-up crews, and the selfless volunteers who have brought hope and compassion to people who need it so badly.
In addition to the loss of life and destruction of houses, natural disasters can cause tremendous damage to roads and bridges, leaving a huge financial burden on the states affected. That's why the Federal Highway Administration's emergency relief program provides critical funds to repair or rebuild roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.
After touring the damage in Alabama, I announced that, as part of the Obama Administration's disaster response, DOT is making available $1.5 million in quick release emergency funds to begin the considerable job of restoring roads and bridges across the state.
This money, which is a part of the Administration’s all-hands-on-deck response to this tragedy, will reimburse the state for early and crucial repairs made following the storms, including debris removal, sign replacement and traffic signal repairs.
Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Administration is a crucial part of the administration's relief effort. So, if you have been affected by these storms and haven’t yet signed up for financial assistance from FEMA, we encourage you to do so at www.disasterassistance.gov. It’s not too late.
As President Obama said, "Our biggest priority now is to help this community recover, and we are going to do everything we can to help Alabama's communities rebuild."
This administration is committed to helping Alabama residents recover from this tragedy, and here at DOT, we will continue to do all we can to support that effort.