MEMA completes damage assessments in the Delta

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PEARL, Miss. (WJTV)- The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has just completed damage assessments in the counties affected by backwater flooding. The agency is submitting a proposal for individual assistance to FEMA by midnight. We spoke with executive director Greg Michel about the latest step for disaster assistance in the Delta.

Since February just over 600 homes in Humphreys, Yazoo, Issaquena, Sharkey and Warren counties have been been affected in some way by backwater flooding.
MEMA had to wait for the water to recede to look at the damage. Now Michel says a memo is being pushed out Tuesday.

“I am working on the memo that will go to FEMA Region 4 requesting that individual assistance declaration be issued for those five counties,” said Michel.

Michel says FEMA pays close attention to the homes that are ranked as “major” in the damage cateory or destroyed. That’s the story for about 320 homes in the backwater counties. He says they are also making a case for others that were filled with water.

“We have another 170 homes that have been classified as minor that we disagree with because those 170 homes have been inundated with water anywhere from 60-170 plus days so the effects from long term standing water has on a substrate whether it has concrete or wood substrate, we believe those numbers should be higher,” said Michel.

Early estimates for repairs to the homes whether its minor or major were at about $8 million, but the real costs are still to come.

According to MEMA, it could take a week or two to hear back from FEMA on the individual assistance declaration. The agency is also waiting on a response on the public assistance declaration submitted Monday.

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