On Wednesday night, word came that President Barack Obama had signed an order declaring the region affected by Monday’s category EF3 tornado a federal disaster area. That means the region can receive assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, pending legislative approval.
The White House Press Office sent out this press release Wednesday night detailing Obama’s declaration:
Today, the President declared a major disaster in the State of Mississippi and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding beginning on April 28, 2014, and continuing.
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne, and Winston.
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 the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency work for damage from the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne, and Winston Counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Mark H. Landry as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.