The Mississippi congressional delegation, which includes US Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., And Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., And US Representatives Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. , Trent Kelly, belong. R-miss. And Michael Guest, R-Miss., Today sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump asking him to agree to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ motion for a statement of major catastrophe for Hurricane Zeta .
The damage caused by the October 28 storm put additional strain on the state’s ability to respond to an emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic and justified a federal response. If approved, the disaster statement would free additional federal resources to complement the state’s recovery efforts.
The delegation letter related to initial damage reports, which indicated two confirmed deaths and at least 135 injuries. The state has also reported at least $ 79 million in damage to public infrastructure and more than $ 10 million in damage to homes and businesses. The storm surge reached eight feet in some counties and spread across the entire Mississippi coast. More than 200,000 Mississippians reported power outages in 38 counties, and many were without power for more than a week.
The full text of the delegation letter is below:
Dear President Trump,
Given the significant damage caused by Hurricane Zeta, a Category 2 storm that struck the state of Mississippi on October 28, 2020, we ask you to please Governor Tate Reeves’ request for a statement about a major disaster the Stafford Act for individuals and persons to fully take into account public support as well as support from the US Small Business Administration.
We applaud the continued efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and look forward to swift agency support in assisting state and local officials in Mississippi as they respond to the devastating effects of Hurricane Zeta and other storms while helping to mitigate COVID-19 work in our state.
As Governor Reeves indicated in his inquiry, recent reports suggest that at least 135 people have been injured and two Mississippians have lost their lives as a result of these storms. Damage also severely destroyed local communities, homes, and public infrastructure. Joint preliminary damage assessments revealed an estimated $ 79 million damage to public infrastructure and more than $ 10 million damage to households and businesses.
In addition to the damage caused by sustained winds of 104 miles per hour, storm surges reached eight feet in some counties and extended across the Mississippi coast. Over 200,000 Mississippians reported power outages in 38 counties, and many were without power for more than a week.
On October 28, 2020, Mississippi Governor Reeves declared a state of emergency to help with recovery and requested a pre-landing disaster statement prior to the storm. Members of the Mississippi delegation also sent a letter in support of Governor Reeves’ request for a pre-landing disaster statement. The request was not granted.
State funds are already strained by ongoing efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and the number and severity of several federal government-declared disasters this hurricane season, including Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Sally. In addition, the state continues to support efforts to recover from 10 federally declared disasters that affected citizens in all 82 Mississippi counties in 2020. Without significant additional federal funding, we fear Mississippi may not be able to recover.
We are determined to help Mississippi recover by helping affected communities and the state rebuild them from these devastating weather events.
Thank you for considering this request. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further assistance.
Roger F. Wicker, United States Senator
Cindy Hyde-Smith, United States Senator
Bennie G. Thompson, member of Congress
Steven Palazzo, Member of Congress
Trent Kelly, Member of Congress
Michael Guest, member of the Congress