President Joe Biden declared Georgia a federal disaster area late Thursday, freeing up federal aid for recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia.

Gov. Brian Kemp formally submitted a request Wednesday for a disaster declaration covering 30 counties across south-central, southeastern, and coastal Georgia. However, the declaration the president issued will apply to only three counties: Cook, Glynn, and Lowndes.

Lowndes County sustained the most damage when Idalia tore through South Georgia last week, with losses estimated at more than $12.8 million, the Valdosta Daily Times reported Thursday.

The federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help residents and businesses recover from the storm’s impacts.

Federal funding also is available to the state and eligible local governments as well as nonprofit organizations to help with debris removal and emergency protective measures in the affected counties, and for hazard mitigation statewide.

With damage assessments continuing in other areas, more counties could be added to the federal disaster declaration, according to a news release from the White House.

This story comes to Rough Draft through a content partnership with Capitol Beat.

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.