One Month Later: Hurricane Ida damage remains as residents wait anxiously for assistance

MEMA has requested both individual and public assistance for several counties in Mississippi, including three along the Coast.
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 7:18 AM CDT
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MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - Exactly one month after Hurricane Ida made landfall, federal assistance could be on the way to people who were caught in the storm’s path.

Individual assistance has been requested for Amite, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties. According to MEMA, 11 homes were destroyed, 57 homes had major damage, and 377 homes had minor damage in those eight counties.

Like many in South Mississippi, the Moss Point home of the Edwards family saw damage due to flooding and are now left waiting to find out when or if they will be able to replace their belongings.

“He wants to know, ‘Will we have to move, mom? Will I get my stuff replaced,’” said Darmekia Edwards. “You have to answer those questions to a little person who has no knowledge of what’s really going on or how you’re feeling.”

The Edwards are hopeful that they’ll get help soon.

The individual assistance requested would put funds directly in the hands of residents to help them with the damage. That program can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other options to help individuals recover from the effects of a disaster.

It’s help that Darmekia Edwards hopes she will soon see.

“That’s a sigh of relief to know there’s possibly help coming because you need it. We need it,” she said. “I don’t just need it, there’s other people that need it and the city needs it.”

For now, waiting is the hardest part.

“It’s depressing, very depressing, because there’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing you can do but wait,” said Edwards.

Like Edwards, her cousin Thelonuis Oatis says he, too, hopes help will come sooner than later.

“I just pray that everybody get a speedy recovery and hope that the government gives us the assistance that we need. It’s really bad. It’s really bad,” said Oatis.

In all, approximately $22.5 million worth of damage is estimated in 19 Mississippi counties. Public assistance for those counties has also been requested, in addition to the individual assistance. That public assistance would support local governments and certain nonprofits recovering from major disasters by providing them with grant funds to help with debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and the restoration of public infrastructure.

The federal assistance application is in step 10 process. The president must approve the request for federal assistance to become available to local and county governments and certain nonprofits. Currently, MEMA is awaiting President Biden’s approval before the application process for assistance can open.

The federal assistance application is a 10 step process.
The federal assistance application is a 10 step process.(MEMA)

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