No federal disaster aid for PRC tornado victims - - The News for South Mississippi

No federal disaster aid for PRC tornado victims


Pearl River County leaders have gotten the official word: There will not be a federal disaster declaration declared in the county as a result of that confirmed tornado that touched down on Christmas Day. That means federal dollars will not be made available to help storm victims rebuild their homes. It also means the county will have to foot the bill to clean up the mess.

"Basically what we've been told is we didn't meet the threshold," said Pearl River County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin.

The destruction is widespread in Pearl River County. County leaders say more than 50 homes within a 26 mile area of the county were damaged or destroyed by the Christmas day tornados.

"We've been told we didn't add up enough to hit the total amount of damage in the state to get the declaration," Lumpkin said.

Federal Disaster Assistance could have meant financial help for tornado victims like Johnnie Lou Lumpkin, who had no insurance and lives on a fixed income.

"They said there wasn't enough damage and 26 miles of it was damaged that's a pretty good disaster in my book," said Jonnie Lou.

It's disappointing news to her and many of her neighbors. 

"There's a lot more people besides me that couldn't afford to put their house back together."

Lumpkin lost her roof during the storm and almost everything inside her house. She's already gotten a new roof thanks to family and community help.

"Through donations, my two sons have helped a great deal they have friends and I have friends that's come," explained Johnnie Lou.

She said completing her home repairs will be tough without the federal help.

"I've paid a lot of taxes over my life, over my 65 year time, you'd think they'd help out a little bit."

The Small Business Administration is offering low interest loans to storm victims who qualify. The SBA is taking applications at the Pearl River County Emergency Operation Center on Highway 11.

The lack of federal assistance will also mean the county will have to foot the bill for debris clean up. Residents will be required to haul their debris to the roadside. County work crews will start picking up the debris within the next two weeks.

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