Thompson sends letter to governor, MEMA about “failure” to request FEMA assistance after June flooding


Excessive rainwater stands in a Ruleville, Mississippi, corn field June 11, 2021. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Zac Ashmore)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) sent a letter to Governor Tate Reeves and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Executive Director Stephen C. McCraney about why they did not “adequately engage” the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assisting after flooding in the Mississippi Delta in June.

Read the letter from Thompson below:

The June storms that deluged my district had significant impacts on my constituents.  The flooding devastated more than 20 Mississippi counties, damaging over 500 homes and 250 public roads and buildings.  In excess of 20 inches of rain fell in one affected county.  A National Weather Service meteorologist observed, ‘Over 7 inches of rain in one day should only happen once every 200 years.  To have it happen twice in two days is just incredible.’  

Despite the extensive damage, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) concluded that the flooding did ‘not meet FEMA parameters to request relief.’ This conclusion was reached without the benefit of having joint preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) carried out in partnership with FEMA, as is commonly done by States after disaster strikes.  Given the extent of the damage, the State of Mississippi’s decision to forgo joint PDAs to determine the magnitude and impact of this disaster – and instead make a unilateral determination about requesting FEMA assistance – is troubling.  Our Federal disaster system is built on collaboration and partnership and presumes that State leaders will exhaust all avenues to help communities recover.  In this case, the State of Mississippi appears to have continued a pattern of failing to avail itself of assistance from the Federal government – to the detriment of Mississippians.

Letter from Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)

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