CLINTON, Miss. -- As Mississippians prepare to observe the one-month anniversary of the historic tornadoes, severe storms and flooding that took place April 15-28, federal and state disaster officials said today that everything is being done to make sure assistance is reaching those who need it.
"Mississippians are making the best of a terrible situation," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack. "People in the affected areas are reaching out to each other and to the state of Mississippi for help. We're partnering with FEMA and other state and federal agencies to help survivors find and use the resources that are available to them as they put their lives and communities back together after this devastating disaster."
Terry L. Quarles, federal coordinating officer for the Mississippi recovery effort, agreed with Mike. "We're doing everything we can to get help to the people and communities who need it."
Federal and state disaster officials offer the following summary of assistance efforts to date:
- More than $8.6 million in grants and low-interest loans have been approved to Mississippians affected by the disaster.
- Of the $8,670, 148 approved in grants and loans for Mississippians, $4,781,258 is for Housing Assistance grants for minimal home repairs, direct housing, and temporary rental assistance not covered by insurance. Another $1,004,990 in grants has been approved for necessary expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster. This may include medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage expenses.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $2,883,900 in low-interest loans to Mississippians affected by the disaster. Low-interest loans from the SBA are the primary form of federal disaster assistance for long-term recovery for homeowners, renters and non-farm businesses of all sizes. SBA urges these homeowners, renters and businesses that have been referred to them for a low-interest loan to complete and return the application in order to continue their recovery process.
- To date, 6,124 individuals in disaster-declared Mississippi counties have registered with FEMA. Residents and business owners who sustained losses can register by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or for those with speech or hearing impairment, TTY 800-462-7585. These toll-free telephone numbers will operate 7 a.m. -- 10 p.m. seven days a week. Disaster survivors also can register by going online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or on the Smartphone mobile website m.fema.gov.
- FEMA's Community Relations teams visited officials and many residents in all 29 Mississippi counties eligible for individual assistance. In the course of explaining the recovery process, they have visited 10,447 residents, 1,349 businesses, 963 faith-based organizations, 175 community organizations, 59 schools, 355 emergency managers, fire and law enforcement officials, 325 government officials and distributed 35,531 flyers.
- To date, 3,776 home inspections have been completed by FEMA inspectors. If an applicant is also being considered for an SBA loan, he or she will receive a second inspection by SBA.
- Approximately 600 FEMA and non-FEMA personnel are currently deployed throughout Mississippi, working on the recovery effort.
- Recovery is progressing in cities and towns throughout Mississippi. As an example, Smithville, a town of fewer than 900 near the Alabama border, was nearly destroyed on April 27 by an F-5 tornado with winds of 261-318 mph. More than 50% of the estimated 23,000 tons of debris has already been removed. Churches have been going into Smithville where their volunteers are feeding those who are working on the recovery.
- Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster memb...