Governor Declares Disaster in North Mississippi

Governor Ronnie Musgrove has turned to President Bush to help our state recover from a storm that tore up Northeast Mississippi on Friday.

Twenty-seven injuries and one fatality resulted from the severe weather that hit Holmes, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties. Still, more than 6500 people are without power today. The red cross and local emergency agencies are helping, but it's not enough. Which is why the governor is turning to the White House. He is declaring disaster in Northeast Mississippi and asking the federal government for more than $11 million in emergency assistance. "Recovery from the storm is still underway and people will be rebuilding for quite some time," the Governor said.

Officials with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency feel confidant we'll receive the federal funds, but there's a problem; Mississippi has to cover 25% of the estimated damage costs. "We do not have an ongoing revenue source for the disaster trust fund. We do not have a trust fund with money in it designed to handle disasters before an event," Robert Latham with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency told WLOX.

The money needed would require an appropriation from the legislature, which during tight financial times and budget cuts, could lead to another problem. Rep. Charlie Capps, Appropriations Committee Chairman said, "Right now to find that kind of money we'd have to take it out of another budget. But things can change. What we really want to do is look at February revenues and hopefully that'll be a little bit better."

State officials don't know how long it will take the money to get to North Mississippi but for the many people who sustained serious losses, relief can't come soon enough. Some of the money coming from the government will go toward Mississippi State University. It's estimated there's nearly four million dollars worth of damage there.