Washington, DC -- Federal disaster aid has been made available for Mississippi to help families and communities recover from the effects of severe storms and floods that hit the state earlier this month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Bush. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from the storms and flooding that occurred over the period of April 3-5.
Following the President's action, Allbaugh designated the counties of Attala, Holmes and Lee eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Additionally, Allbaugh said federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for restoring damaged public facilities in the counties of Attala, Holmes, Leake, Lee and Neshoba. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that additional counties may be designated for aid later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named John D. Hannah of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Hannah said those who sustained losses in the counties designated for aid to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available starting today, April 18, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.