As the world comes to grips with the unprecedented damage of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, millions of Americans in the southeastern United States are working to rebuild their lives. Irma crossed into Georgia in the early morning hours of Monday, September 11, 2017. Over the next 24 hours, water inundated island and beach communities over 100 miles of coastline. Winds topping 69 miles per hour toppled trees and power lines. 1.1 million Georgians lost power and three lost their lives. For the first time in state history, all 159 counties came under a state of emergency issued by Governor Nathan Deal.
Now begins a long road to recovery. Georgia is familiar with reconstruction, from Sherman’s burning spree during the Civil War in 1864 to tornadoes that killed 12 people in Albany as recently as January. Many homes in Southwest Georgia still stand wrecked and roofless from those storms. And some coastal Georgians are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew that wrought millions of dollars of damage last October.
As Hurricane Irma approached, GPB News reporters fanned out across the state to talk to people who were evacuating or staying put to protect their homes. We reported during the storm as winds and flooding approached our own communities in Macon, Savannah, Augusta, Albany and Atlanta.
And we were on the ground in the storm’s aftermath capturing voices of people determined to piece their lives back together.
This is a Georgia ready to rebuild.