Pine Belt recovery centers open doors

Pine Belt recovery centers open doors

HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - While disaster relief efforts continue, the next step in the long recovery for tornado survivors in the Pine Belt Area has begun.

Federal Disaster Recovery Centers have opened, but assistance is going beyond the center and reaching into the heart of the community.

Marvin Hall got his Holy Communion early and drove his damaged car to the C.E. Roy Community Center for help. His home may be beyond repair.

"I'm glad I made it, but I don't think I'm going to make it too much farther if I don't get help," Hall said. "I need to get back home."

The center brings in multiple agencies in one place because each case is different.

"The help is here," said Ken Higginbotham, FEMA public information officer. "They just have to take advantage of it as soon as possible. It is a process. This is a marathon. It's not a sprint."

Many of those who suffered through the tornado have not been able to get to the Disaster Recovery Centers. So MEMA, FEMA and other emergency management officials are canvassing the area in hopes of getting people back on their feet.

Workers are trying to reach everyone they can to register them for services.

Diane Sims' home was hit hard. But, outreach is making it a little bit easier.

"It made me feel good," Sims said. "I'm very happy they came by and they did what they had to do, and then maybe we'll get some type of help. We lost some windows, some clothes, food and stuff, but God is good all the time."

The foot patrol was meant for people like Jannie Holloway.

"It's a blessing because, see, I'm disabled," Holloway said. "I've had three strokes and I can't get around too good. Now that I've got some help, I don't have to worry about it."

The disaster recovery centers in Hattiesburg, Petal and Purvis are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

For more information on how to get help, call 1-800-621-FEMA or go to

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.