Officials asking volunteers to register for more effective relief efforts

TORNADOACROSS MISSISSIPPI — As Mississippi digs out from Monday’s tornadoes, officials are trying to manage a blessing — volunteers.

The state is encouraging people who want to help with recovery to register so they can match skills with needs and make sure volunteers arrive at the right time. Already in Winston County, volunteers are manning a collection point for donations inside the dirt-floored Louisville Coliseum, and the Christian group Samaritan’s Purse has arranged housing for volunteers at church in Oktibbeha County.

Officials are hoping another kind of outside help, from the federal government, will accelerate recovery. President Barack Obama declared seven counties as federal disaster areas late yesterday, which will also allow individuals and governments to get aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for things like temporary housing and rebuilding Louisville’s hospital.

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