HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After President Obama declared Forrest and Lamar County a federal disaster on Wednesday, FEMA has now opened two Disaster Recovery Centers in Hattiesburg.
"This Disaster Recovery Center was open within a couple of days of the declaration that the president made," said FEMA Public Affairs Officer, Jack Heesch. "We're very happy to be here working with the state of Mississippi at the request of the governor to come and try to provide as much help as we can to the survivors of these tornados."
Families and individuals in Forrest, Lamar, Marion, and Wayne County affected by Sunday's tornado are encouraged to stop by one of the Disaster Recovery Centers to receive assistance.
"A very first step in getting yourself back on the road to recovery is to come to FEMA and to see if you're eligible, and for how much assistance you might be eligible to be able to begin the reconstruction process if you will," said Heesch.
Before stopping at one of the centers, FEMA encourage residents to register by calling 1-800-621-3362 or by going online to www.disasterassistance.gov, HERE.
"Then you can come in here and meet with an applicant services representative who can explain to you what the status of your application is," said Heesch. "From there we then will schedule in the very near future for one of our inspectors to come look at the damage, and begin to make assessments of how much damage there was, and what assistance you might be eligible for FEMA."
Along with receiving assistance from FEMA, the center is also staffed with professionals from MEMA, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
"The Small Business Administration offers loans for up to 100% of your uninsured loss," said SBA Public Affairs Specialist, Jack Camp. "If you didn't have insurance, or were underinsured, the Small Business Administration can help you to fully recover for the disaster."
The Red Cross is also working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and also has a center provided in the same building to help those in need.
"We welcome their participation, that way it makes it much easier on the parties to be able to find the help they need," said Heesch.
The two FEMA centers will be open daily from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. at:
Ben McNair Recreation Center (Forrest County)
300 North 12th Avenue
Lamar Park (Lamar County)
226 Pinewood Drive