Jackson, MS -- Residents and business owners in 30 central and southwest Mississippi counties, who sustained damage from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding of April 6th through 25th, have only three more weeks to apply for disaster assistance. June 23rd is the last day applications will be accepted. That is also the deadline for submitting loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-related losses to real and personal property.
Residents who receive loan applications from the SBA should complete and return the applications even if no loan is wanted. The information contained in the application enables the evaluators to determine which disaster assistance program is appropriate. If individuals are unable to repay a SBA loan, they may be eligible for a grant.
Counties declared eligible for federal/state disaster aid as a result of the April 6th-25th severe weather are: Amite, Attala, Claiborne, Clarke, Copiah, Franklin, Hinds, Holmes, Issaquena, Jasper, Jefferson, Kemper, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Neshoba, Newton, Pearl River, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, Smith, Walthall, Warren, Wayne and Yazoo.
The above deadline, however, does not apply to those residents in the northeast Mississippi counties who were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and high winds of May 5th through 8th. The deadline to apply for disaster assistance in those counties is July 22nd.
"We want people to understand that this is merely an application deadline," said Carlos Mitchell, federal coordinating officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "For individuals who have already applied, their cases will continue to be processed, it's just that we won't be accepting any new applications for the flooding of April 6th through 25th, 2003."
Federal and state disaster recovery officials strongly urge those who have not done so to apply as soon as possible by calling FEMA's toll-free application line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Hearing or speech-impaired individuals may call the TTY application number at 1-800-462-7585. The registration numbers are available every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., local time.
Leon Shaifer, the state coordinating officer, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, added, "With the deadline only three weeks away, Mississippians who sustained storm damage during the April 6th through 25th time period should call 1-800-621-3362 immediately and apply for disaster assistance. Don't disqualify yourself for assistance. Call the FEMA application number and let the professionals evaluate your situation."