Franchot Canaan, Vectrus ground landscaping maintainer, removes dangerous branches at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Oct. 29, 2020. Members of the 81st Civil Engineering Squadron and Vectrus worked before, during and after Hurricane Zeta to ensure the base infrastructure was able to sustain the wind and rain during the storm. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Seth Haddix
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Trump administration has approved Gov. Tate Reeves' request for federal help following Hurricane Zeta.
President Donald Trump declared the disaster on New Year's Eve, ordering federal aid to help South Mississippi counties recover from the worst hurricane to hit the area since Katrina in August 2005. The declaration covers George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties, allowing federal funds for repairs and low-interest loans for residents and business owners.
In George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Perry, Stone, and Wayne counties, officials also can tap into public assistance to help cover emergency work and repairs or replacement of public facilities the storm damaged, the White House said in a news release.
Reeves tweeted New Year’s morning about the disaster declaration, which residents and government officials have anxiously awaited. Alabama counties received a federal disaster declaration Dec. 10 for Zeta damage.
Reeves thanked the president, saying, “Homeowners, local governments, and business owners in the declared counties can start the new year rebuilding from this storm."
Hurricane Zeta made landfall Oct. 28 with 8 feet (2.4 meters) of storm surge and wind gusts of up to 100 mph (160.1 kilometers per hour), impacting parts of Southeast Mississippi. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, by Nov. 25, had documented $10 million in damage to individual homes and $79 million in damage to public infrastructure.
Available assistance will include temporary housing and home-repair grants, loans for uninsured property losses, and other programs for individuals and business owners. More relief may be provided if warranted as the result of future damage assessments, the news release said.
Residents and business owners with Zeta losses in designated counties can register online for assistance at http://www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.