Community Relations Teams Visit Disaster-Damaged Areas


In an effort to help people recover from the April 15-28 tornadoes and storms that struck Mississippi, community relations specialists from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are contacting survivors throughout the disaster area to provide valuable information.

People who sustained uninsured or underinsured losses in the 29 designated counties with disaster designations may be eligible for federal-state assistance. The counties designated major disaster areas for Individual Assistances are: Alcorn, Attala, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Coahoma, DeSoto, Greene, Grenada, Hinds, Holmes, Jasper, Kemper, Lafayette, Leflore, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Panola, Quitman, Smith, Sunflower, Tishomingo, Tunica, Webster and Winston.

The specialists, wearing familiar blue MEMA and FEMA shirts, meet with storm survivors and local officials at recovery and senior centers, community organizations, and churches to explain the recovery process and provide information. Teams have distributed thousands of information flyers, visited scores of homes and businesses, and worked in the affected counties to help identify and assist disaster survivors.

Survivors and business owners may qualify for a variety of assistance programs including:

Grants to help pay for temporary disaster housing needs.
Grants for essential repairs needed to make a residence safe, sanitary and functional.
Low-interest loans to repair or replace damaged property for homeowners, renters, private non-profit organizations and businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Crisis counseling services provided at no cost to survivors.

Unemployment benefits for workers and self-employed individuals who are out of work as a result of the declared major disaster. Even spouses who have lost the sole breadwinner in their family may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Legal advice provided at no cost to survivors of the declared disaster.

Other Needs Assistance grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or other assistance programs.

Sourec: US Federal Emergency Management Agency