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Lawmakers petition Obama for expedited disaster declaration

Oklahoma TornadoWASHINGTON – Mississippi’s congressional delegation, which includes U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and U.S. Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., and Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., today sent a letter to President Obama requesting full consideration of Gov. Phil Bryant’s request for an expedited federal disaster declaration in the wake of devastating weather events across the state.

The delegation’s letter specifically supports Bryant’s request for direct federal assistance for Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne and Winston counties, and hazard mitigation statewide.

The lawmakers wrote:

“Dear President Obama:

In the wake of devastating weather events across the Southeastern United States this past Monday, we are writing to request your full consideration of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s request for a federal disaster declaration for Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes, Madison, Rankin, Wayne and Winston counties as well as hazard mitigation statewide.

We understand that the state of Mississippi and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly continue to assess the damage across the state. Should Gov. Bryant request federal disaster declarations for other counties, we are hopeful you will also give these requests your full consideration.

We have been encouraged by the efforts of FEMA to deploy rapidly to Mississippi to assist state and local officials in estimating the severity of the initial damage caused by a series of at least 14 tornado touchdowns across our state, one rated as devastating as EF-4. Citizens have lost loved ones, homes, and their livelihoods. Much of this destruction has occurred in parts of our state that have been particularly affected by our nation’s current economic situation. Many of these counties also have poverty levels that are more than double the national average.

We know from our ongoing recovery in Mississippi from the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac as well as destructive tornados in Smithville in 2011 and Hattiesburg area in 2013, that significant resources and cooperation are necessary to recover fully from natural disasters as quickly as possible. We stand ready to face this new challenge by supporting the local communities, the state, and your administration as we work together to rebuild and renew areas destroyed by this major storm.

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


Thad Cochran

Roger Wicker

Bennie Thompson

Gregg Harper

Alan Nunnelee

Steven Palazzo”


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