ATLANTA, Ga. -- Community Relations (CR) specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and county emergency management agencies are reaching out to people affected by the March 20 flooding.
Teams are canvassing communities in Bolivar, Warren, Washington and Wilkinson counties offering individuals and small business owners information about available disaster assistance programs. These include grants to help pay for temporary disaster housing needs; grants for essential repairs needed to restore residences that are not safe, sanitary and functional; low-interest loans to repair or replace damaged property; and replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.
"CR staff is on the ground to help people not only get disaster assistance information, but also to connect with affected communities and assist individuals with the problems they are facing," said Michael L. Parker, FEMA's federal coordinating officer for Mississippi disaster recovery. "These skilled professionals come from all walks of life and locations. They really are the face of FEMA, and they gain satisfaction from helping people who may otherwise not be aware of help available to them."
Team members also meet with representatives of community-based agencies, community leaders and public officials. When CR staff members identify unmet needs, they pass that information on to the state or federal staff best able to respond.
"Having accurate information about the benefits available is vital to our citizens as residents begin the process of recovering from these devastating floods. As the teams go door to door it lets them know that there is help available," said State Coordinating Officer Lea Stokes.
Disaster victims are urged to register for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired. Victims can also register online at www.fema.gov or visit a DRC for more information.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.