Image courtesy of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
As recovery efforts continue following Easter Sunday’s storms in Mississippi, help from the federal government is on its way.
President Trump has approved a ‘Federal Disaster Request’ made by Governor Tate Reeves after the devastating storms. Governor Reeves spoke to the President on Thursday, and the declaration was approved shortly after.
“Words cannot express how grateful I am for President Trump’s quick consideration to approve Mississippi’s request to help our people during this difficult time. The storms that hit on Easter Sunday were truly devastating. People are already struggling under the weight of COVID-19. By lending this helping hand, we are letting Mississippians that they are not alone. Thanks to our strong relationship with the White House, we can provide the resources necessary to reinforce our efforts to help people get back on their feet,” said Governor Tate Reeves.
At this time, the declaration includes Covington, Jefferson Davis and Jones counties but it could be expanded as damage assessments continue. The tornado that tore through these three counties has been rated as an EF-4 storm with winds reaching at least 190 mph. At 2 1/4 miles wide, the system becomes the widest tornado on record in the state of Mississippi and the third widest tornado on record in the United States.
In all, the severe weather tragically resulted in 14 fatalities across the state and 33 counties reported damage. In the three approved counties, MEMA says that 333 homes were damaged or destroyed.
According to MEMA, Public Assistance is available for Category B, Emergency Protective Measures, in these three counties. Subsequent damage assessments could make Category A, Debris, and Permanent Work available.
In this case, individual assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of this disaster.
Residents and business owners in Covington, Jefferson Davis, and Jones counties who sustained losses can now apply for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. These phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.