FEMA, MEMA to begin joint damage assessments

Source: MGN

PEARL, Miss. (WTOK) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and select local emergency management offices are conducting joint damage assessments this week in response to the severe storms and flooding that impacted the state from Feb. 19-24.

The assessments will take place Tuesday and Wednesday. Teams will
help confirm the types and amounts of damage and whether the scope of damage is beyond the state’s threshold and if federal assistance is needed to support those counties.

Initially, representatives from FEMA will provide support in conducting damage assessments for Public Assistance in Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Grenada, Lowndes, Pontotoc and Tishomingo counties.

FEMA will also provide support in conducting damage assessments for Individual Assistance in Lowndes County, where 375 homes were damaged due to an EF-2 tornado.

Once damage assessments are completed in other counties that were affected by those storms, they could become eligible for federal assistance as well.

“I expect that Mississippi will receive a federal declaration”, said MEMA Executive Director Greg Michel. “Furthermore, I expect the declaration will be expanded to include other counties affected by the Mississippi River and backwater flooding.”

Gov. Phil Bryant signed and declared a State of Emergency Feb. 25 in response to the damage caused statewide by severe weather. A State of Emergency is an administrative tool that authorizes the use of state resources to aid in response and recovery efforts.

Federal Assistance includes, but is not limited to:

• Public Assistance (PA) -- inspecting structures, roads, water and sewer treatment facilities and other essential public facilities. (This assistance is not available to residents.)
• Individual Assistance (IA) – interviewing residents to determine the extent of the disaster on individuals, families and personal property.
• Hazard Mitigation – determining possible future preventive actions as well as gauging the effectiveness of measures already in place.

The public is encouraged to report damage to homes or businesses to their county emergency management office. A directory of all the offices may be found by clicking the attached link.