Miss. lawmakers press for federal aid to help victims rebuild

WASHINGTON — Mississippi lawmakers urged residents on Monday to report damage caused by tornadoes that ripped through the state over the weekend so officials can determine whether the state is eligible for federal assistance.

“We’re close to meeting the statewide threshold of $3 million in damages, which would trigger the assistance statewide,” Republican Sen. Roger Wicker said in a message on YouTube.

At least 10 people were killed and property in at least 17 counties damages, officials said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will help decide if the state qualifies for supplemental federal aid from the president’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Sen. Thad Cochran, also a Republican, said lawmakers are working together to make sure the state gets federal aid.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson saw extensive damage from a helicopter Saturday. Four of the hardest-hit counties are in his 2nd District – Yazoo, Holmes, Attala and Warren.

“The damage caused to these citizens’ personal property cannot begin to compare to the emotional ruin they have to contend with in the aftermath,” Thompson said in a news release. “Some who have lived here for generations lost everything, and I have requested an expeditious assessment by FEMA teams.”