Governor Tours Storm Damaged Coast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/27/02

Governor Tours Storm Damaged Coast

Governor Ronnie Musgrove says it's likely Mississippi will ask for federal emergency assistance in recovering from the storm.

The governor took a helicopter tour of the storm damage Friday and visited civil defense headquarters in Harrison and Hancock counties.

The process of asking for federal help is already underway. And the governor hosted an important visitor in seeking such help. The director of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, accompanied Governor Musgrove and saw the damage firsthand.

"We're going to see the damage that the water causes. Because it's severe and it does impact people across the Gulf Coast and the state. We'll put that information together as quick as possible and we'll try to get some help and assistance as soon as we can," said Governor Musgrove, as he met with reporters at the Air National Guard base.

Governor Musgrove toured the storm damage by helicopter. He was joined by FEMA director Joe Allbaugh. Louisiana has already made a formal request for federal assistance.

"We're expediting that as quickly as we can. It may be on the President's desk by late this afternoon. And we'll turn Mississippi's around just as quickly as we've done Louisiana's," explained Allbaugh.

His state counterpart, MEMA director Robert Latham, assured Mississippians that help is forthcoming.

"We will be here to help the citizens get back on their feet. To meet the immediate needs to make sure that those citizens of this state are taken care of and know that we as partners with FEMA are here to help them do that," said Latham.

The governor met with community leaders and emergency workers at Harrison County civil defense headquarters. He thanked all involved with storm preparation efforts.

"But the bottom line is that the preparedness of the local agencies, the state agencies, the federal agencies and the National Guard I think helped divert a lot of difficulty," said Governor Musgrove.

He singled out the civil defense director, Linda Rouse.

"And Linda, I want to say thank you for the work that you do. For the guidance that you give. And the great cooperation."

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is still working to put a dollar figure on storm damage. A formal request for federal assistance may come over the weekend.

Governor Musgrove says it could be on the President's desk by Monday.

By Steve Phillips

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