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County added to disaster list

Following recent severe storms in the state, Lincoln County hasbeen added to a federal disaster declaration that will enablegovernment entities and individuals to receive financial assistancein recovering from the disaster.

Lincoln County was among 14 counties added to the declarationtoday, said U.S. Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran. Area countiesincluded in the declaration are Franklin, Pike, Walthall andAmite.

Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey said thedeclaration will allow the city, county and the private, non-profitSouthwest Electric Power Association and Magnolia Electric PowerAssociation to recover some of the costs of damage clean up afterlast weekend’s heavy rains.

“Whatever we’ve had, we’re going to be able to report it and get87.5 percent of our money back,” Galey said.

Galey said the recovery funding is based on a 75 percentfederal, 12.5 percent state and 12.5 percent local ratio.

Officials reported $106,000 in damage from the recent storm.Galey said that involved mainly road and bridge repair and debrisremoval.

“That will also include law enforcement time to block roads andwhatever they may have done,” Galey said.

Galey said the declaration is part of continuing coverage fromFeb. 16 when a tornado struck the north Mississippi area.

An applicants briefing is scheduled for Monday in Purvis, Galeysaid. At the briefing, government entities will receive informationon to recoup money spent on addressing disaster situations, Galeysaid.

For individuals affected by the storm, Amy Bissell, publicinformation officer for the Mississippi Emergency ManagementAgency, said they should first file a claim on their homeowner’sinsurance.

Individuals may then contact the federal assistancetele-registration number at 1-800-462-9029 and have the insuranceclaim information available. Applicants will go through a 20-30minute process and then be advised on their eligibility forassistance, either through loans, grants or both.

Bissell said disaster recovery centers will be set up in southMississippi counties to assist individuals. She said MEMA is tryingto close several centers in north Mississippi and did not have atimetable for when centers in the south would be open.

Individuals seeking assistance do not have to go to a disasterrecovery center.

“It’s another stepping stone to help people understand what theyneed to do,” Bissell said.