FEMA head tours Hancock County

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Local governments around the coast are still in the process of compiling damage estimates from Hurricane Isaac. When they are finished, FEMA will be one of the first to know those numbers.

Tuesday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate toured some of the buildings in Hancock County built with State Hazard Mitigation Grant Funds after Katrina. It was also a chance for Fugate to update county leaders on recovery plans

Fugate says his organization learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina, lessons that should make recovery from Isaac go a lot smoother.

"This disaster, we should not be here six and seven months later trying to figure out what's next," said Fugate.

Fugate told county leaders money spent after Katrina to build evacuation shelters and storm ready buildings helped to save lives during Isaac.

"I think most of the things we're seeing are areas that have not flooded before, where you didn't have facilities or homes that weren't in areas that were elevated."

This is Fugate's fourth trip to Hancock County from Washington since Isaac struck.

"My experience in disasters is I go forward, not to run things. I got Terry and his guys doing that. But I what to make sure what we're doing up there makes sense here."

His presence is appreciated.

"Never in my lifetime as an elected official have I seen such leadership come down and be on the ground as much as these gentlemen and Governor Bryant has and have given us the guidance we need," said Board of Supervisors President Lisa Cowand.

Fugate said he plans to return to the coast as often as it takes until he's sure that residents can bounce back. He also urged residents who sustained damages from the storm to register with FEMA, either online, by phone or by visiting one of their recovery centers.

  • FEMA's toll-free number is 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). Operators speak many languages.
  • 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.
  • Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 800-621-3362.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

You can also register online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Web-enabled mobile phone devices or smartphones should visit m.fema.gov to fill out the registration form online.

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