For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 23, 2003
Statement by the Deputy Press Secretary
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Mississippi and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes and high winds on May 5-8, 2003.
The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in a 9-county area. The counties include Calhoun, Clay, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Monroe, Pontotoc and Webster Counties.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-share basis for hazard mitigation measures.
Representing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named Carlos Mitchell as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
The Agency said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are completed.
The Agency said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: FEMA (202) 646-4600.