PEARL – Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson sent a formal request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for joint preliminary damage assessments following the severe storms and tornado outbreak on April 30th, 2017.  The teams would conduct assessments for individual assistance in Holmes and Montgomery counties and public assistance for Calhoun, Holmes, Montgomery and Yazoo counties.  The results of the assessments would determine if the areas may qualify for federal assistance.

Additional counties could be added as local damage assessments are completed.

“Having FEMA representatives on the ground in the counties will not only help speed up the process of damage assessments, but it will allow us to gain more clarity on the amount of damage caused by the storms of April 30th,” said Director Smithson. “These assessments will ultimately be the deciding factor on whether we meet the threshold for a federal declaration from the President, which would allow federal assistance to deploy into the affected areas.”

28 counties have reported damage because of the April 30th severe weather event. Several state agencies, along with numerous nonprofit and faith-based organizations have been assisting with recovery since the storms began.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed a State of Emergency on Monday, May 1, which is an administrative tool that allows local governments to request state assistance for response and recovery associated with the storms.

Holmes County is now accepting monetary donations through its Long-Term Recovery Program.  Those donations can be sent to the following address:

Holmes County Long Term Recovery
P.O. Box 29
Durant, MS 39063

As of Thursday morning, the National Weather Service in Jackson had confirmed 26 tornadoes from the April 30th severe weather outbreak.  NWS surveys are ongoing.

MEMA is working with FEMA and will provide additional information as it becomes available.  The best way to get up-to-date information during this event is to “Like” MEMA on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter @msema.