Tupelo, MS -- Teams of community relations specialists will visit Mississippi's newly declared disaster counties beginning today to explain state and federal assistance programs to business and homeowners who suffered damage during the recent severe storm and tornadoes.
Leon Shaifer of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the official in charge of state recovery operations, said emergency management officials in each of the affected counties would advise the teams. "We believe face-to-face meetings with storm victims are vital to giving them assurance that they will receive the needed help in getting their lives back on track as quickly as possible."
Federal and state assistance is now available to individuals and families in Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Walthall, Lincoln, Scott, Pearl River, Amite, Pike, Jones, Franklin, Tate, Neshoba, Wilkinson and Perry counties.
Residents who suffered storm damage as far back as Feb. 16 can register for state and federal assistance by calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) toll-free number, 1-800-462-9029 (1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired). This includes temporary housing and help with needs not covered by insurance or community service agencies.
"We have community relations people in the disaster area starting this afternoon and they will remain there as long as they are needed," said John D. Hannah, the FEMA official in charge of federal recovery operations.