Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and the state's Congressional Delegation are asking President Barack Obama for a federal disaster declaration for tornado-ravaged areas of the Magnolia State. Bryant is requesting a federal disaster declaration for seven north Mississippi counties, as well as hazard mitigation statewide. Bryant's request was submitted Tuesday while the Congressional Delegation’s letter was sent to the White House Wednesday. Bryant says federal assistance is also being requested for the Richland Fire Department.
Bryant says, “I asked the President yesterday, in a letter, to expedite the declaration of emergency, a national declaration of emergency for the State of Mississippi. Preliminary reviews, over 2,000 homes as we said, have been totally destroyed or damaged, around 50 to 60 businesses. And the other things that we’re concerned about if you talk about costs as I was meeting with mayors early this morning, is the number of employees that are working, for example, along the corridor and Highway 49. We’re worried about unemployment, how they receive unemployment, how long those businesses might be closed.”
State Emergency Management Director, Robert Latham, says his office and leaders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) would be out Wednesday assessing damage to support the disaster declaration request. A dozen tornadoes struck central and north Mississippi on Monday. Twelve deaths have been reported. Cleanup efforts are underway across the state.