PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi leaders are working to make sure Hurricane Ida survivors have access to the resources they need in order to recover from the storm.
On Wednesday, Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) joined federal and state emergency management leaders to discuss the impact of Hurricane Ida on Mississippi. At this time, the state is in the recovery phase, which tends to be the longest and most frustrating.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Red Cross are working closely together to get people what they need.
Local officials are conducting damage assessments on the county level. Initial, unconfirmed reports indicate that 164 homes were impacted, six were “destroyed,” and 42 had “major” damage. Additionally, preliminary reports show the hurricane impacted 184 roads and 53 bridges. MEMA is working alongside county EMA officials to help expedite the assessment process, but at this time, damage numbers have not officially been validated.
Thousands of sandbags, water, generators, personal protective equipment (PPE), tarps, food and ice have been distributed since Ida hit the state. Thirty-seven thousand people are still without power as of Wednesday afternoon, mainly in rural areas of the state.
Due to a highway collapse in George County, there were two fatalities and 10 injuries. Officials said there have been at least 20 water rescues, and hundreds of evacuees from Louisiana have come to Mississippi, which has caused some congestion on highways in South Mississippi.
MEMA Executive Director Stephen McCraney said the state is welcoming the evacuees with open arms.
“We’ve got some neighbors from Louisiana with us, but that’s what Mississippi does. We are the hospitality state. I want to remind folks this is a tense time. It is hot. You are going to be out there trying to recover, clean up your yards. Do not move power lines. Let the professionals do that. We are in recovery. Let’s get to the next step of response and recover properly and not lose any life,” he said.
Shelters are open across Mississippi. Many are housing evacuees from Louisiana. Mississippi is also deploying engineering companies, firefighters and some National Guard members to the neighboring state.
If residents need immediate resources, they are encouraged to contact their county EMA director. Impacted individuals can also call MEMA’s Hurricane Ida hotline at 1-888-574-3583 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays for assistance. Louisiana residents sheltering in Mississippi can call 1-800-621-3362 for FEMA assistance or 1-800-755-5175 for additional shelter and resource information.
Mississippians who experienced structural damage to their homes are able to submit damage reports online using MEMA’s self-report tool.
Watch the full news conference below: