Jackson, Mississippi – Governor Haley Barbour today added Mississippi counties with heavy damage from the weekend tornados to his request for a federal disaster declaration. If granted, residents and business owners in the affected areas would be eligible for emergency assistance programs.

Governor Barbour has included all counties crushed by the wave of tornadoes – including those for which the federal government has not concluded damage assessments – to the disaster declaration request submitted to President Obama. The initial request submitted Tuesday applied to Yazoo and Choctaw counties, where initial damage assessments indicated the destruction in those counties was sufficient to qualify for disaster assistance. Initial damage assessments now also have been completed for Attala, Holmes and Warren counties, and those counties have been specifically included in Governor Barbour’s request.

“Federal, state and local officials are working diligently to assess the damage to communities in the path of these destructive tornados,” Governor Barbour said. “A federal disaster declaration will greatly help those families and business owners who are beginning the recovery process.”

Initial damage assessment figures for the three additional counties are:
Attala: 26 homes destroyed, 14 houses with major damage, 16 houses with minor damage and 24 houses affected.
Holmes: 61 homes destroyed, eight houses with major damage, 38 houses with minor damage and nine homes affected.
Warren: eight homes destroyed, nine houses with major damage, nine houses with minor damage and 10 houses affected.

If approved, residents of counties included in a presidential disaster declaration would be able to obtain specialized benefits, including individual assistance and unemployment services to aid in the recovery from the devastating spring storms that swept through Mississippi over the past weekend.