FEMA assistance denied for April 28 flood victims

FEMA assistance denied for April 28 flood victims

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Flood victims will not be getting any federal funding from FEMA after the April 28 downpour in South Mississippi.

FEMA officials report the total amount of damage did not meet the requirements for a disaster designation.

"We did do preliminary damage assessments. We went out with county and state officials and looked at the damage," said a FEMA spokeswoman. "It did not meet the criteria for a federal declaration."

The storm doused Harrison County with 11 inches of water, causing many streets to flood, rivers to rise and all of that water seeping into homes and businesses.

Floodwaters damaged 295 homes, 60 apartments and 29 businesses in Harrison County. One of those homes off O'Neal Road is owned by Dennis and Amanda Lawrence.

"We've been waiting now for a month. And I'm basically now still in the same situation as the day it happened," Amanda Lawrence said. 
"We're not looking for a handout. We're just looking for a hand up," Dennis Lawrence said.

April's torrential rains dumped 19 inches of rain inside the Gulfport couple's home. Another two feet of water poured into their storage shed.

"We lost all our carpet. We lost our washer and dryer, our sofas, our dressers, our computer, our printer, clothes. I mean I've got three pages of stuff that's gone," Dennis Lawrence said.

Almost three dozen businesses and churches sustained significant flood damage from the late April storm. Butch Spell is with one of those churches, Gulf Coast Free Will Baptist Church in Gulfport.

"Never seen such a flood that we actually seen," Spell said.

Nevertheless, FEMA just determined the damage did not meet the criteria for a federal declaration.
Unless someone appeals that decision and FEMA changes its stance, the Lawrences must rely on the kindness of others to help restore their home.

"If it wasn't for friends, I wouldn't know what to do," Dennis Lawrence said.

"If we stand together as one people, we'll be one people and we'll actually survive anything that comes our way," Spell said.

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