Members of the Mississippi congressional delegation have again rallied to support the state of Mississippi's request for a presidential disaster declaration to aid victims of floods and tornadoes that tore through north Mississippi earlier this month.
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson, Gene Taylor, Travis Childers and Gregg Harper today sent President Obama a letter endorsing the disaster declaration application submitted by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to the White House late last week.
The state's request seeks a federal disaster declaration for six north Mississippi counties where tornadoes on May 1 and subsequent flooding killed six people and damaged hundreds of homes. The Governor's initial application would cover Alcorn, Benton, Lafayette, Prentiss, Tippah and Tishomingo counties.
Regarding the May 1 tornado damages, the Mississippi lawmakers wrote:
"The latest estimates show that 6 Mississippi lives have been lost and nearly 250 residences were destroyed or have major damage and 482 homes received minor damage. Much of this destruction has occurred in parts of our state that have been particularly affected by our nation's current economic situation. Many of these counties have poverty levels that are more than double the national average."
"We stand ready to face this new challenge by supporting the local communities, the State, and your administration as we work together to rebuild and renew areas destroyed by this major storm," the delegation stressed in its correspondence to the President.
The lawmakers, who also backed Barbour's application for federal assistance following a massive tornado on April 23-24 that killed 10 Mississippians, thanked President Obama for approving that request and making federal assistance available to the state.
Members of the congressional delegation have been consulting with Barbour, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and local officials regarding recovery efforts and outstanding needs in the damaged region. The issuance of a presidential disaster declaration, as requested by the state, would trigger the release of federal disaster assistance and resources.