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GSA Regional Staff Assists Communities Beset by Tornadoes

By Shea Brannen
Southeast Sunbelt Region
General Services Administration

ATLANTA, May 19, 2011 – GSA is playing a critical role in responding to the destruction in six Southeastern states after tornadoes pummeled the area last April.

After tornadoes struck Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee, GSA's Southeast Sunbelt Region immediately offered assistance to the state agencies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

To date, GSA's Southeast Sunbelt Region has provided more than $2.5 million in equipment to hardest hit Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The region has also provided technical and expert assistance to the North Carolina Emergency Management Agency.

"While the states appreciated the contact and let GSA know what they needed as demands became known," said Southeast Sunbelt Regional Administrator Shyam Reddy, "the state of Alabama requested immediate assistance because of the massive devastation throughout parts of the state. The staff immediately began a coordinated effort to search for property to make it available to Alabama and the other states."They reached out to the surplus property directors in each state to help them acquire surplus government equipment.  

Many towns and communities suffered a significant loss of equipment and resources such as generators and cargo to help in their own recovery. GSA quickly searched for and transferred equipment to the impacted states. In addition, GSA transferred supplies such as blankets and cots, to help in the comfort of the displaced and now-homeless families.

GSA’s real property specialists in the Public Buildings Service are helping FEMA search for leasing space for displaced workers. GSA sent 15 Real Estate Acquisition Division leasing specialists to the six states. Eleven leases have been awarded to FEMA and a new location for a joint field office is in negotiation. Leasing actions add up to a more than $2.4 million. In total GSA provided $4.9 million in assistance.

Moreover, in addition to helping other federal, state, and local agencies, GSA has had to help itself. Building managers have been busy repairing and restoring the agency’s assets damaged by the storms and hail in Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.