Thursday, May 5, 2011
Mississippians will persevere through storms and flooding
The recent storms that passed through much of the South claimed the lives of at least 32 in Mississippi and injured hundreds more. The tornadoes produced by these storms are unprecedented, and the destruction they caused is enormous.
My prayers are with the families of those who died and all those impacted. Mississippians remain resilient, and we will overcome these difficulties as we have in the past.
Last week, I toured many of the areas that were hit hardest, including Smithville where the death toll stood at 14 as of Friday. The utter devastation was undeniable as house after house was reduced to rubble, downed trees and debris remained in roadways, and power had not yet been restored.
Local first responders and volunteers took action quickly to help those in need, and their service is a vivid reminder of the spirit that makes Mississippi such a special place.
On Thursday, I met with Governor Barbour to coordinate recovery efforts. I fully support the governor’s request for federal disaster assistance, and I am working to ensure that FEMA and other federal agencies are doing everything they can to help.
Just as in Alabama, the size and scope of the devastation requires a federal response.
FEMA, the Small Business Ad-ministration, and the Department of Agriculture all offer support during disaster recovery.
Full recovery for many families and businesses will take some time, and additional federal assistance beyond what has been requested may be needed.
I will continue work to with federal, state, and local officials, as well as my colleagues in Congress, to make sure those suffering receive assistance. If you need assistance, please visit www.msema.org or contact one of my offices.
More Challenges Ahead
Many parts of Mississippi also face the threat of substantial flooding in the coming weeks. Heavy rains have elevated the Mississippi River to critical levels, causing flood damage in parts of the Midwest.
Our state saw how quickly the waters can rise in 2008, and I urge anyone living in flood-prone areas to heed these early warnings.
Residents and business owners in low-lying areas near the river should check their property and move important items to safer locations. It is also important to review flood insurance policies to know what is covered. More information on preparing for a flood can be found at www.floodsmart.gov.
Preparation is Key
Being prepared for severe storms or flooding before they strike is essential. The first step in preparation is creating an emergency supply kit which should include items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, and a first aid kit.
Second, develop a family emergency plan. While you may not be together when disaster strikes, it will be important to know how to contact one another and get back together after a storm has subsided.
Lastly, stay informed by listening to instructions given by local emergency management officials before, during, and after the storm. To learn more, visit www.ready.gov.
The most recent storms serve as a reminder of the power of nature. The coming days and weeks will be difficult as many assess the damage and decide how to move forward.
Mississippians will rise to meet these challenges, and our people will persevere.
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