Mississippi’s Congressional delegation is backing the state’s request for a Federal Disaster Declaration in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
The entire delegation, which includes U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson, Steven Palazzo, Trent Kelly and Michael Guest sent a letter to President Joe. Biden urging him to approve Governor Tate Reeves’ request for a major disaster declaration for Hurricane Ida.
The request would open up individual assistance for eight counties and public assistance for 19 counties.
The delegation letter referenced the severe damage to Highway 26 in George County that killed three Mississippians and caused injuries to 10 individuals. The state has also reported damages to at least 1,600 homes and a total estimate of $22.5 million in Emergency and Permanent Work costs across 19 counties that met the threshold for public assistance.
The full text of the delegation letter is below:
Dear President Biden,
In the wake of Hurricane Ida, which brought devastating weather events to the state of Mississippi, we request your full consideration of Governor Tate Reeves’ request for a Major Disaster Declaration under the Stafford Act.
We appreciate the efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deploy rapidly to Mississippi to assist state and local officials in estimating the severity of damages across our state from heavy rainfall, severe power outages, flooding, and tornadoes. We recognize that 36 counties and 35 cities have submitted damage reports or filed local emergency proclamations.
Hurricane Ida severely damaged sections of Highway 26, which led to a highway pile-up that killed three Mississippians and caused injuries to 10 individuals. As Governor Reeves indicated in his request, an initial evaluation of the damages from Ida showed that at least 1,600 homes were damaged. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) assessed reports of 130,000 power outages, with thousands of families left without power for over one week and hundreds for up to two weeks. Out of the 21 counties that requested public assistance, 19 met their threshold, with a total estimate of approximately $22.5 million in Emergency and Permanent Work costs.
Resources from state and local governments and volunteer organizations are not adequate to help our state recover from these damages. The effects of straight-line winds, severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes require significant federal funding and assistance. We stand ready to face this challenge together by working with our local communities, the state, and federal agencies to rebuild areas affected by these major weather events.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need further assistance in this effort.
Roger F. Wicker, United States Senator
Cindy Hyde-Smith, United States Senator
Bennie G. Thompson, Member of Congress
Steven Palazzo, Member of Congress
Trent Kelly, Member of Congress
Michael Guest, Member of Congress