BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Hurricane Zeta made landfall in South Mississippi on Oct. 28, causing millions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and public property.
Since then, many residents across the Coast have reached out to ask if and when individual assistance will be available from state and federal resources.
MEMA Director Greg Michel said Thursday that state and federal emergency officials just completed their third day of assessing damage left behind by Zeta in South Mississippi. Those assessments will continue through the upcoming weekend, ending in Harrison County, which reported the most damage, according to initial reports.
When it comes to individual and public assistance, however, Michel warned that the process takes time.
“So what I would tell folks is... be patient. We are probably several weeks out,” said the MEMA director. “We will be making the request (for federal assistance) within the next seven days, two weeks from Thanksgiving. And then from there, we will wait on a decision from the White House on getting a federal declaration for both individual assistance and public assistance.”
With $40 million in damage already reported and that number continuing to climb, Michel said South Mississippi will meet the threshold for public assistance.
And if individual assistance is granted, he says that will be based on a homeowner’s damage versus what is covered by insurance.
He also reminds people that part of assistance would also include help from the Small Business Administration, which offers low-interest loans to qualifying homeowners, renters, and business owners to help rebuild following a natural disaster.