FEMA, Other Relief Agencies Here To Stay For A While - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/25/05

FEMA, Other Relief Agencies Here To Stay For A While

People from all over the nation are in South Mississippi, aiding in the relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Katrina.

The hub for much of this activity is housed on the third floor of one of Biloxi's casino hotels, the Imperial Palace.

While many residents were concerned FEMA and other first responders would leave South Mississippi to assist those affected by Hurricane Rita, they may be in our area for quite some time to come.

Mike Loreg is one of 19 people from the Kansas Emergency Management Assistant Compact group who's working at the joint area field office.

The movement of critical supplies, such as food and water, in Mississippi's six southernmost counties, literally lies at his fingertips.

"There are a lot of other things generators, there are trucks that need to be brought in, there are pumping units that take water out of certain areas. We also coordinate people," Loreg said.

Loreg is one of nearly 500 people from across the nation from various agencies, helping Mississippi with disaster relief and recovery efforts.

Even with Rita making landfall to our neighbors to the west, this center is still fully staffed, and workers are still on standby to help Mississippians affected by either storm.

"It is a facility that's helping to coordinate all the efforts that are going on along the Gulf Coast. And we are staying," said Gene Romano, the public information officer for FEMA. "No one left. There were no major units that were reassigned for Hurricane Rita. We are here for the people of Mississippi. We're going to make sure they receive all the assistance they're entitled to."

Romano says FEMA disaster centers once closed for Hurricane Rita will be back open Sunday at noon.

The joint area field office is the command post for the various agencies, not a disaster recovery site designated for people who need aid.

By: Toni Miles

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