Congressional leaders request Federal Disaster Declaration for winter storms


Icy conditions in Rankin County. Courtesy: Clay P.

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Friday, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, along with U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson, Steven Palazzo, Trent Kelly, and Michael Guest, asked President Biden to approve Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ request for a major disaster declaration due to February’s winter storms.

If approved, the disaster declaration would unlock additional federal resources to supplement state recovery efforts.

The full letter from the delegation is below:

Dear President Biden,

In the wake of the extreme winter weather that hit the State of Mississippi beginning on February 11, 2021, we ask for your full consideration of Governor Tate Reeves’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration under the Stafford Act. Because of the numerous major declarations over the past year in Mississippi, including from COVID-19 and an active hurricane season on the Gulf Coast, federal support to state and local officials in Mississippi is necessary to ensure a complete recovery. 

We appreciate the continued efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and anticipate expeditious assistance from FEMA to aid state and local officials in Mississippi as they continue responding to and recovering from the devastating winter weather events that occurred beginning on February 11, 2021. 

As Governor Reeves indicated in his request, the Joint Preliminary Damage Assessments showed that the winter storms caused nearly $25 million in damages across Mississippi. Additionally, six Mississippians lost their lives because of these extreme winter weather events. Reports also stated that 170,224 customers lost power and 56 boil notices were in effect across Mississippi. The state used its resources to deliver drinkable water to the impacted counties, including to the City of Jackson, which did not have running water in parts of the city for nearly a month.

On February 14, 2021, Governor Reeves declared a State of Emergency in Mississippi to assist in the recovery. However, resources from the state government, local governments, and volunteer organizations are not adequate to offset these damages. Significant federal assistance is required for the 31 counties and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians requesting Public Assistance.

We are determined to assist our residents’ recovery by supporting the affected local communities and the State of Mississippi as they work to recover from these devastating winter weather events.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need further assistance in this effort.

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