Storm assistance deadline is Monday

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

Mississippi residents can still apply for federal or statedisaster assistance under President George W. Bush’s disasterdeclaration for storms that ravaged the area in mid-April, but timeis running out.

“People have until 6 p.m. Monday to call the toll-free numbersto FEMA’s application line to be eligible,” said Jennifer Griffinwith the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. “After that, noapplications will be accepted.”

FEMA’s toll-free number will still be available after Monday toassist those who have already registered, but will no longer acceptapplications.

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Griffin said throughout the state more than 12,700 people haveapplied for the various forms of assistance.

“That’s a little bit higher than the anticipated number of 3,500applications,” she said.

More than 4,700 people in Lincoln County and the surroundingarea have already applied for the various forms of federal andstate disaster assistance, Griffin said.

There were 797 applications received from Lincoln County, 3,208from Pike, 527 from Lawrence, 119 from Copiah, 43 from Jeffersonand 30 applications from Franklin County.

“I do not know of those how many were approved for assistance,”she said.

The high volume of calls from Pike County was interesting,Griffin said, because MEMA had not believed the county suffered alot of damage.

“Pike County was not a core county, where significant damagefrom the storms was reported. Lincoln County was,” she said.

Griffin said the statistics indicated that a number of peopleapplied for assistance, whether they wanted a loan or not, toprotect themselves against future damages.

It was a smart thing to do, she added.

“Some individuals who have insurance think they won’t qualifyfor disaster assistance because of that insurance. That’s notnecessarily true,” Griffin said. “The insurance may take care ofany initial damage, but it wouldn’t cover any storm-related damagefound later.

“By putting in an application now, homeowners put themselves inthe process and are eligible for assistance later, if needed,” sheadded.

A total of more than $28 million in federal and state disasteraid has been been approved for 31 counties in central andsouthwestern Mississippi who sustained damage during the severestorms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the state between April6 and April 25.

The National Weather Service confirmed April 7 that violentstorms spawned a tornado that tore through northern Lincoln Countycausing damage in a 10-mile path from Caseyville to Wesson. Thetornado was classified as an F2. There are five categories oftornadoes, ranging from F1 to F5. Wind speed and damage estimatesare factors in categorizing tornadoes.

At least 20 homes were severely damaged or destroyed and morethan 3,500 people were left without power.

There were no reports of injuries resulting from the storm, butan unconfirmed report stated that two people received minorinjuries and returned home during the night.