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UPDATE: SBA chips in after President Trump sends federal aid to Mississippi

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communication Inc.

President Donald Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for for the State of Mississippi, which allocates federal funding to the devastated parts of the Pine Belt following Saturday’s storms.

The declaration will expedite aid to Forrest, Lamar, Perry, and Lauderdale counties.

If you need to apply for federal assistance, you can do so at

Claims can also be filed over the phone the following ways:

  • Over the phone registration 1-800-621-3362
  • Those with a speech or hearing disability may utilize TTY by calling 1-800-462-7585
  • Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 1-800-621-3362

A much awaited phone call from the White House has confirmed that Mississippi will get full support from the Trump administration as the Pine Belt and much of the Southeast continues to recover from the weekend’s deadly tornadoes.

Governor Phil Bryant said President Donald Trump called him Tuesday night.

“Just took a call from the president of the United States, who expressed his support for Mississippi and his condolences for the lives lost during the Jan. 21 tornado,” the Governor posted to Facebook. “President Trump intends to expedite the recovery process and will sign the major disaster declaration as soon as possible. He wanted all Mississippians to know that he and his administration stand with us during these challenging times.”


Mississippi’s congressional delegation wrote a joint letter petitioning President Trump to fulfill the Governor’s request for federal aid in disaster recovery.

In the letter, U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Representatives Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) and Trent Kelly (R-Miss.) are supporting the Governor’s request for a major federal disaster declaration for Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry counties.  Administration officials have been in close contact with Mississippi’s local, state, and federal officials since the time of the storms.

“We request your full consideration of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s request for an expedited major disaster declaration for Mississippi, as a result of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of January 20-21, 2017.  We also support the Governor’s request for statewide Hazard Mitigation,” the federal lawmakers wrote.

Click HERE for the full letter from the Congressmen.


Governor Phil Bryant sent a formal request to President Donald Trump urging that he issue a disaster declaration to the areas affected by the tornadoes that ripped through the weekend of January 21st.

A disaster declaration would authorize federal aid to those whose homes or business were damaged in the storms. It would also provide relief to any public buildings that were impaired or destroyed.

Along with four deaths, 60 people were injured and more than 1400 homes damaged. Over half of those damaged were completely destroyed.

The National Weather Service confirms three tornadoes hit the Pine Belt: The most destructive being an EF-3 that went through both Petal and Hattiesburg with wind speeds over 136 miles per hour and a destruction area of over 25 miles.

William Carey University, in Hattiesburg, took a heavy hit: According to Dick Vogel, a spokesman for the school, more than 2,000 undergraduate students will most likely have to finish semester classes online.

The four people who lost their lives in the storm include Cleveland Madison, 20; David Wayne McCoy, 47; Ernest Perkins, 58 and Simona Cox, 72.


The Small Business Association is now offering assistance to residents in Mississippi who were effected by the storms.

These statements are from a press release: 

“The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing the people of Mississippi with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans. Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at the SBA.”

The disaster declaration covers the counties of Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale and Perry in Mississippi which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Clarke, Covington, George, Greene, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Kemper, Marion, Neshoba, Newton, Pearl River, Stone and Wayne in Mississippi; Choctaw and Sumter counties in Alabama.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may now include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates are as low as 3.125 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations and 1.5 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. 

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at or download the FEMA mobile app.

If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is March 27, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Oct. 25, 2017.

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