Federal disaster relief on the way

Title-Disaster relief is on its way to South Mississippi.

FEMA officials are getting ready to hunker down in Forrest and Lamar Counties, at Disaster Response Centers, for those who need help through the rebuilding process.

The Pine Belt is in recovery mode, with nearly 1,169 homes in Forrest County destroyed or severely damaged by Sunday's massive tornado. Forrest County Emergency Management Director Terry Steed said the Federal Disaster Declaration couldn't have come any quicker.

"We were not expecting to get a declaration for several more days," said Steed,  "So, we are just delighted that we were able to get that."

A crew of FEMA community relations specialists have hit the ground running, going door to door, showing folk's exactly what the disaster declaration means and how to register for assistance.

"They are the first line, the first wave of people to get the message out," said FEMA spokes woman Stephanie Moffett.

Moffet said the first thing you need to do, to see if you qualify for assistance, is register. There are a few ways to do that.

Register on line at DisasterAssistance.dot.gov

call: 1-800-621-FEMA daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

If you are a C-SPIRE customer, you can text #362 on your mobile device.

By a web-enabled mobile device:  log onto m.fema.gov then select disaster survivor, then apply online for assistance.

Forrest County residents will soon have disaster recovery centers, a one stop location with everything from Red Cross services, volunteer information and any other kind of disaster organization help you may need.

One of the Center's will be located  in Hattiesburg, at the Ben McNair Center on 12th Avenue. It will be open on Sunday from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.

The other center will be at the Petal Civic Center, on South Main Street. Officials are still trying to determine exactly when this one will open.

The Lamar County center will be located at the Lamar Park Community Center, on  Pinewood Drive. No word on when this one will open.

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