RELEASE:

MISSISSIPPI DELEGATION ENDORSES FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION

Commit to Helping Local, State and Federal Recovery Efforts After Dec. 23-28 Storms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the Mississippi congressional delegation today sent a letter to President Obama indicating their support for approval of a federal disaster designation that would make federal recovery resources available to help Mississippians recover from tornado, flood and severe storm damage sustained Dec. 23-28.

The letter of support for Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s request for federal assistance was issued prior to the President approving the aid on Monday. The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and U.S. Representatives Bennie G. Thompson, Gregg Harper, Steven Palazzo, and Trent Kelly.

“We have been encouraged by the efforts of FEMA to deploy rapidly to Mississippi to assist state and local officials in estimating the severity of the initial damage caused by a series of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding across our state. Citizens have lost loved ones, homes, and their livelihoods. Much of this destruction has occurred in parts of our state that have been particularly affected by our nation’s current economic situation. Many of these counties also have poverty levels that are more than double the national average,” the Mississippi lawmakers wrote.

“We stand ready to face this new challenge by supporting the local communities, the state, and federal agencies as we work together to rebuild and renew areas destroyed by this major winter storm system,” they wrote.

Members of the congressional delegation have been consulting with Bryant, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and local officials to assess storm damage and recovery efforts.

The issuance of a presidential disaster declaration, as requested by the state, would trigger the release of Federal Emergency Management Agency. Bryant’s federal disaster declaration request seeks hazard mitigation assistance statewide, individual assistance for Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Quitman and Tippah counties, and public assistance for Benton, Marshall and Tippah counties.

The following is the text of the congressional delegation’s letter to the President:

Dear President Obama:

In the wake of devastating weather events across the Southeastern United States during the period of December 23-28, 2015, we request your full consideration of Governor Phil Bryant’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Quitman, and Tippah Counties in Mississippi as well as hazard mitigation statewide.

We have been encouraged by the efforts of FEMA to deploy rapidly to Mississippi to assist state and local officials in estimating the severity of the initial damage caused by a series of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding across our state. Citizens have lost loved ones, homes, and their livelihoods. Much of this destruction has occurred in parts of our state that have been particularly affected by our nation’s current economic situation. Many of these counties also have poverty levels that are more than double the national average.

We know from our ongoing recovery in Mississippi from the effects of recent hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding that significant resources and cooperation are necessary to recover fully from natural disasters as quickly as possible. We stand ready to face this new challenge by supporting the local communities, the State, and federal agencies as we work together to rebuild and renew areas destroyed by this major winter storm system.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need further assistance in this effort.

1/4/16