The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the deployment of federal resources to the parts of the Mississippi Delta where powerful tornadoes killed at least 26 people over the weekend. President Joe Biden approved the emergency declaration on Saturday, March 25.
“The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe and Sharkey counties,” FEMA said in a press release Sunday.
Gov. Tate Reeves requested the emergency declaration on Saturday morning.
“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,” FEMA said in a press release on Sunday. “Individual assistance is available to residents in those four counties and can include grants for temporary housing, 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.”
In addition to the lives lost, Reeves said in a press release Sunday that the storm injured many others and destroyed hundreds of homes. The affected counties have a combined population of about 50,000.
“It’s devastating; it’s very sad to see,” the governor told members of the press while visiting the affected areas on Saturday. “We had the opportunity to get out and speak to a number of the residents. What you see in this disaster and what I’ve seen all day today is heartbreaking for the folks and the families that lost their lives, but also a sense of optimism because you see Mississippians doing what Mississippians do—helping themselves and helping their neighbors.”
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann visited Rolling Fork in Sharkey County on Saturday to see the extent of the damage and visit with those affected by the disaster.
“The devastation, both in terms of loss of life and damage, is overwhelming here in Rolling Fork. The priority right now is search and rescue in addition to an assessment of immediate needs,” Hosemann said in a statement. “We are in conversation right now with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, local emergency officials, local government leaders, school district superintendents and others about how the Legislature may be able to assist with monetary resources in this area and the numerous other impacted areas in our state.”
“Mississippi is a big neighborhood. We will get through this together. We are grateful for all of our first responders and community leaders who will be integral to the process of grieving, cleaning up, and rebuilding in the coming days and weeks.”
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker was with the governor in Amory and described the scene as “a disaster” and “a heartbreak.”
“And homes that have been there for 50, 70 years—gone,” he said. “But we’ve learned in Mississippi not to be part of victimhood. The repair that has been done since the wee hours of the night until this point in the afternoon is just amazing.”
The Mississippi Association of Educators put together a resource on where people can get help in the disaster, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse.
FEMA said state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations can assess public assistance federal funding for emergency work in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe and Sharkey counties.
“Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide,” the agency said in its announcement.
Businesses and individuals who sustained losses during the storm can apply for federal disaster assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, using the FEMA app or by calling 800-621-3362. Those who are hearing or speech impaired can call 1-800-462-7585 (TTY).
How to Help
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency released a list of donation locations and requested the following items: non-perishable foods (such as canned or boxed food), bottled water, canned drinks, paper products (toiletries, paper plates/cups, etc.), cleaning supplies (such as muck buckets), sunscreen and snack food for workers. The agency said clothing donations are not currently needed.
The donation locations are:
- Humphreys County EMA – 16735 U.S. Highway 49, Belzoni, MS 39038
- Crossway Church – 1825 Highway 61 South, Vicksburg, MS 39180
- Old Armory Garment – 902 Main Street, Amory, MS 38821
- Old Vaden High School Gym – 504 Mulberry, Vaiden, MS 39176
Volunteer Mississippi has a list on its website of locations across the state, from the northernmost areas to the Gulf Coast, where residents can donate to help with recovery efforts. The website also lists information on Delta disaster relief volunteer opportunities on its calendar.
The Mississippi Association of Educators put together a resource on where people can get help in the disaster, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the Samaritan’s Purse.