. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour


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April 24, 2008




Declaration would make residents eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program


(JACKSON, Mississippi) - Governor Haley Barbour today asked President Bush to declare a major disaster in four Mississippi counties due to extensive flooding that has chased families from their homes, disrupted commerce and already caused millions of dollars in damages.


In a letter to the President, Governor Barbour noted that flooding along the Mississippi River and its backwaters has affected or destroyed 343 homes in Bolivar, Warren, Washington, and Wilkinson Counties.


“I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments, and that supplementary federal assistance is necessary,” Governor Barbour said.


Governor Barbour’s request calls for aid through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, which would provide grants to flood victims. The Governor, who toured flood-stricken areas on Monday, said he would likely request additional federal assistance to help local communities repair public infrastructure, such as bridges and roads.


Much of the flooded areas of the four counties was assessed by representatives from MEMA, FEMA and SBA Preliminary Disaster Teams, as well as local officials. The following damage was found during these assessments and is included in the Governor’s request for assistance:


County       Affected    Minor     Major     Destroyed   Total    Low Income
Bolivar        25              34         30          34               123       24%
Warren       2                38         8            71                119      98%
Washington 0               27         28           29                84        21%
Wilkinson    2                5           3              7                 17       100%
Totals        29              104        69           141               343     53%


MEMA Director Mike Womack said it is important that flood victims who have not reported their damage to their local emergency manager to do so immediately.


“Citizens reporting to their local officials is fundamental to the entire disaster assistance process,” Womack said. “State and federal government can never understand the needs of a citizen as well as local officials.”