Barbour Requests Federal Disaster Declaration

Gov. Haley Barbour Tuesday requested the president declare two Mississippi counties as a major disaster area, allowing residents and business owners access to federal government assistance programs.

Barbour has asked for the declaration to apply to Choctaw and Yazoo counties.

In Choctaw County, initial damage assessments show 33 homes destroyed, 30 homes with major damage and 51 homes affected.

In Yazoo County, initial damage assessments show 104 homes destroyed, 97 homes with major damage and 114 homes affected.

If it's approved, residents of those counties would be able to obtain specialized benefits, including individual assistance and unemployment services to aid in the recovery.

Local and state governments would be able to use federal funds to help pay for the cost of cleanup and emergency measures.

Assessments continue in all of the storm-damaged counties. Federal, state and local officials are determining whether the damage in other Mississippi counties qualifies those areas for a federal disaster declaration.

Those counties include: Attala, Desoto, Forrest, Holmes, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Simpson, Tallahatchie, Union, Warren and Webster.

Gov. Barbour will make the request for an expanded declaration if those counties meet the necessary threshold.

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