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CNN Today

Georgia Tornadoes: Help En Route to Camilla

Aired February 15, 2000 - 1:20 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Rescuers in southwestern Georgia are still searching for people missing after Sunday night's devastating tornadoes. Nineteen people are confirmed dead, and more than 100 others hurt after the state's deadliest attack by tornadoes in more than 50 years.

CNN's Brian Cabell joins us from Camilla, one of the towns hardest hit -- Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Natalie. It is a beautiful sunny day, once again, in south Georgia. But, the site behind me, of course, is anything but pretty.

FEMA has come up with its preliminary -- preliminary damage assessment. It sent it up to Washington, D.C. late last night. It's hoping for a presidential declaration of a federal disaster area later on today. And clearly, this is a disaster area.

As you said, four counties hit by six tornadoes a day and a half ago. One of them, we're told, was a F-3 tornado; that is a tornado of 150 miles per hour plus. Nineteen people confirmed dead so far, a few people missing, so that total could rise somewhat. The injury total, we've never gotten a good handle on, but it's 100 plus, and it could be considerably above 100.

There was a warning for some of the citizens here. There were sirens going off in some of the communities. And, of course, TV and radio were broadcasting warnings of danger. But, at midnight, when these tornadoes occurred, most of them -- a lot of people were asleep.

Today, more help is arriving from the Red Cross; from the Salvation Army; from insurance adjusters; from the food bank, a food bank in Albany, Georgia about 20, 25 miles north of here raised 50,000 pounds of food yesterday. So, citizens clearly are coming out to help their neighbors.

Now, as for lodging, that's a major problem. Three hundred homes, according to FEMA, so far declared totally destroyed; that's over a four-county area. Shelters have opened up; four shelters in the local area. But, only 17 people took advantage of those shelters yesterday. They are staying, apparently, with relatives and friends.

Travel trailers, we are told, will be arriving on Thursday. Not much, small travel trailers, but certainly better than what you see out here. People will not be coming out to these homes, certainly within the next several weeks.

I'm Brian Cabell, CNN live in Camilla, Georgia.

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