A reassessment of damages caused in three flood-damaged Mississippi counties has been requested by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, which has requested additional preliminary damage assessment teams from the U.S. Small Business Administration to tour flood-damaged Hancock, Jackson and Pike counties. An SBA damage assessment team has already toured Rankin County.
The assessments will determine whether the counties are eligible for an SBA disaster declaration in the wake of recent heavy rains.
“If a disaster declaration is made, the SBA can offer low-interest loans to homeowners, renters and business owners, Lea Stokes, a MEMA spokeswoman told the Pascagoula Mississippi Press.
Giff Ormes, lead disaster volunteer with the Southeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross, will show the teams some of the most heavily damaged areas in Jackson County — Helena’s Wildwood and Dawn Ridge communities; Rose Drive and Blair Street in Moss Point and Pointe Aux Chenes in Ocean Springs.
The Red Cross is assisting as facilitator with Jackson County Emergency Management office and the SBA. The SBA can make a declaration when one of the following two requirements are met:
At least 25 homes and/or businesses in a county have uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of their estimated fair replacement value.
At least three businesses have uninsured loss of 40 percent or more of their estimated fair replacement value and, as a direct result of the damages, 25 percent of the work force in the community would be unemployed for at least 90 days.
Butch Loper, Jackson County civil defense director, told the Press he has been in constant contact with MEMA. He welcomed news that the agency would reassess needs in Jackson County.
“We’ve had so many rains in so short of time. I know it didn’t meet the 40 percent threshold they were talking about in the original requirements. I was shocked when they called me (Tuesday) morning and said they were going to send the teams down. I’ve been trying to get help for all the people I could,” Loper told the Mississippi Press.
MEMA Director Robert Latham said aftere the damage assessment is complete, a determination about a declaration is usually made within three to five days.
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