Black Hawk, Miss. (Winona Times/Carroll County Conservative) – Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann visited the area on April 20 to discuss what is being done to bring relief to those affected by the March 24 tornado and the access damage.
A Rotarian in Jackson, Hosemann spoke to Winona Rotarians about the strides being made toward recovery from tornadoes that reeked havoc from one side of the state to the other.
The Mississippi Legislature has appropriated funds to help build back communities that have lost churches, schools, homes, and more importantly, lives.
Hosemann said lawmakers initially appropriated $6 million and then, about $12 million more to fund the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) efforts.
“Some of it was for schools. Some of it was for hospitals. Some of it was for general care,” said Hosemann.
He commended the efficiency of MEMA and their responding to the destruction within hours after the storm.
“They are, I guess, fortunately or unfortunately, highly skilled because they’ve had a lot of practice. They do a really good job,” said Hosemann. “I would like that they didn’t have so many opportunities to show how good they were.”
MEMA and the federal government have a number of different programs, including loans, that will help provide for housing.
“Loans are still loans. I mean you owe somebody. It’s not a grant,” said Hosemann. “We want to be more where we’re helpful with money that doesn’t have to be repaid by people who are suffering right now.”
During his visit to the area, Hosemann visited the site of the Black Hawk School, which had been reduced to rubble and boards by the storm.
He listened to concerns of local residents who have lost their homes and now are having difficulties in receiving payment from their insurance companies.
Hosemann encouraged the residents to be patient with the process, and even if they have to temporarily relocate, return to the area.
“Your friends and neighbors just rushed to help you, but now, people are getting slightly relocated, trying to get the feel of what happened; trying to find their family,” said Hosemann. “They go through a natural phase of really being challenged about rebuilding or about coming back to the community about all the things they lost. It’s important, I think, for people like me and your neighbors and your friends to come back the next week and just check on people and talk to people.”
He said MEMA and state officials will continue to work with locals to help rebuild.
“When we come back, we’re going to appropriate the rest of the money as needed,” said Hosemann, of state lawmakers. “When we come back in January, that’s going to be job one – to find out what’s missing.”