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9.1.21 – Sun Herald –

 Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves updates from Hurricane Ida, response, FEMA Administrator … Reeves detail damage to MS and who to call.

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FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell was in Mississippi on Wednesday morning, saying the federal government has brought assistance for those affected by Hurricane Ida.

She joined Gov. Tate Reeves, and officials from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross, at a press conference Wednesday morning.

Criswell said President Joe Biden had approved a pre-disaster declaration for every county in the state, and positioned resources before the storm including search and rescue teams, ambulances and power restoration teams.

“Currently we are moving ambulance strike teams into Harrison County, and we have additional ambulances that have pre-positioned and staged at the fairgrounds in Jackson ready to support as needed,” she said. “We also have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporary power team that’s staged at Camp Shelby.”

She first offered condolences to the victims of the George County road collapse, and thanked first responders. “I know that you’ve had a lot on your plates as of late, and responding to Hurricane Ida just added one more thing.”

Criswell cautioned Mississippians that the recovery phase is “a very dangerous time” with injuries possible from unstable trees or buildings, downed power lines and heat exhaustion.

Please take extra caution, she said, and extend a helping hand to those that need it.

“It’s always amazing to me how communities bond together,” she said. “They get out and they look after their neighbors to make sure that they’re safe and they have what they need as we begin this recovery.”


Reeves said Ida entered the southwest part of the state and left over the northeast part, damaging many areas from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee line.

“This part storm brought damage throughout our state less in terms of severity on any one specific point and much more about the size and the scope of the storm,” he said.

He said Chevron is back online, and the ports of Gulfport and Pascagoula resumed operations.

Mississippi also is working on plans to send more help to the hardest-hit areas of Louisiana, the governor said. Already, “significant numbers” of firefighters have deployed, along with “teams from the Coast.”

The Mississippi National Guard has sent 250 soldiers with a military police company and an engineering company to help with debris removal and distribution of supplies in Louisiana.

The worst of the damage in Mississippi — and both of its fatalities from Ida — came with the washout of Highway 26 in George County on Monday night.

“When we had the failure on Highway 26 in George County, the eye of the storm was somewhere around Oxford,” said Gov. Tate Reeves. Oxford is in the northern part of the state while Lucedale is in southeastern Mississippi. “And so this was a very large storm whose bands were whipping south.”

Reeves said looking at the pictures of the road collapse, “It looks like a bridge was washed out, but in fact it was the entire roadway there was washed out.”


MEMA Executive Director Stephen McCraney and the others detailed damage so far from Ida:

  • 164 homes were impacted, according to current information. Six were destroyed and 42 have major damage
  • 53 bridges and 184 roads affected.
  • From a peak of 136,000 customers without power during and after the storm, 37,000 are without power, most in southwest Mississippi, and about 10,000 in Pike County.
  • 100% of hospitals throughout the state are on full power. Three went to some form of generator power but none of them went out completely.
  • At the peak, there were 28 shelters open with over 600 occupants. As of Wednesday there were three shelters open with 44 occupants.

“As those crews are out working, if you could stay off the roads for another 20 hours, we should be able to get this job complete,” McCraney said. By Friday, the whole state should have power again.

Harrison County on Wednesday also asked residents to slow down for workers trying to clear roads.

U.S. 90 reopened Thursday, but all of the Mississippi Coast beaches remain closed.

“As flood waters recede, road crews are placing barricades to identify dangerous conditions,” the county said. “For safety, do not drive or walk around barricades, and do not move barricades.”


Reeves provided phone numbers for where people can get help:

▪ Mississippi residents with damage should call 888-574-3583 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

▪ Louisiana residents sheltering in Mississippi can reach Louisiana 211 by calling 800-755-5175

▪ Louisiana residents needing FEMA assistance should call 800-621-3362 or go online to disasterassistance.govhttps://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=314&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftatereeves%2Fvideos%2F194407985968776%2F&show_text=false&width=560&t=0


Frequently asked questions following a disaster:

My food spoiled during a power outage, can I get reimbursed?

No, MEMA does not provide reimbursement for food spoiling during a natural disaster.

Where can I get money to fix damage to my home?

Financial assistance is available to homeowners and renters ONLY if a federal disaster declaration for Individual Assistance is approved by the president. Federal financial assistance is never a guarantee. If you need immediate help finding a tarp for your roof, call you county emergency management agency office or the MEMA hotline at 1-888-574-3583.

If you have structural damage to a home, submit damage reports online using MEMA’s self-report tool. “Please note that this is strictly a data-collection tool to help conduct damage assessments and NOT an application for financial assistance.”

I need help repairing damage to my home. What do I do?

First, take pictures of the damage for documentation purposes. Second, call your insurance provider to file a claim. If you do not have insurance, please contact the MEMA hotline at 1-888-574-3583 for assistance.

I want to help with Hurricane Ida relief efforts. How can I do that?https://3733579c84275191e312d2305cdc2c96.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

If you would like to volunteer, register at www.gulfcoasthub.org. You can also email volunteer@mgccf.org or call 228-265-7910 for more information. Volunteers should NOT self-deploy.



Food and Water Safety

If your power is out, there are several food and water safety tips to follow to ensure what you eat and drink is safe for consumption:

If power is out for less than two hours, food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to eat. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold longer.

After two hours, a freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours.

After two hours, pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.

Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Watch for specific boil water alerts in your area.

Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash, and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. If possible, use baby formula that does not need to have water added.https://3733579c84275191e312d2305cdc2c96.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Boiling water, when practical, is the preferred way to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. Bringing water to a rolling boil for 1 minute will kill most organisms.

Carbon Monoxide

MSDH recommends the following precautions to help prevent potentially fatal carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent, or fireplace. Do not use gas-powered generators or pressure washers in enclosed spaces including indoors or in the garage. If you suspect you are experiencing any symptoms of CO poisoning, such as dizziness, headache or shortness of breath, open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and go outside. In cases of severe CO poisoning, call 911 emergency services or the Mississippi Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Personal Protection

When cleaning up storm-damaged areas, be sure to wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes to prevent cuts and scratches from debris. Do not let children play in floodwater and discard any items that come into contact with floodwater.

Any food (including food in plastic or glass), medicines, cosmetics or bottled water that has come in contact with floodwater should be discarded. If in doubt, throw it out. Intact cans may be thoroughly disinfected with one-quarter cup of bleach to one gallon of water, and then used.

Around Your Home

When cleaning up debris around your home, be sure ladders are secure before climbing on them to clean the roof and gutters. If you plan to use a chainsaw to clear debris, be sure to operate the machine according to the instructions. If injury occurs, call 9-1-1 or seek immediate medical help.

Flooding can cause mold to grow inside your home, which can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections, and other respiratory problems. MSDH does not handle mold removal or abatement. You will need to call a private contractor for further assistance.

Tetanus Information

Tetanus vaccination is recommended if it’s been 10 years or more since your last tetanus vaccination (Tdap is the recommended vaccine). In the event of a puncture wound or wound contaminated with floodwater, individuals should consult a healthcare provider.

Disinfecting Private Water Wells

Homeowners impacted by flooding who do not receive their water supply from a public water system regulated by the MSDH should have their private well inspected, disinfected and sampled in order to protect their health. For step-by-step instructions on disinfecting your private water well, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/wells.

Vibrio safety

Vibrio vulnificus bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer.

Vibrio bacteria naturally live in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer.

Vibrio vulnificus can cause life-threatening wound infections. Many people with Vibrio vulnificus infection require intensive care or limb amputations, and about 1 in 5 people with this infection die, sometimes within a day or two of becoming ill

Anyone can get a Vibrio wound infection, but some individuals are more likely to get infection and have severe complications:

  • Have liver disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, or thalassemia
  • Receive immune-suppressing therapy for the treatment of disease
  • Take medicine to decrease stomach acid levels
  • Have had recent stomach surgery

Individuals at higher risk for infections and severe complications from Vibrio bacteria should avoid wading or standing in brackish or saltwater.

How can I prevent a Vibrio wound infection if I have a wound?

You can reduce your chance of getting a Vibrio wound infection by following these tips:

  • If you have a wound (including from a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo), stay out of saltwater or brackish water, if possible.
  • Cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if it could come into contact with saltwater or brackish water. This can happen when a hurricane or storm surge causes flooding.
  • Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water after they have contact with saltwater, brackish water, raw seafood, or its juices.

Seek medical attention immediately if you develop signs and symptoms of Vibrio infection, which can include:

  • Watery diarrhea, often accompanied by stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and fever
  • For bloodstream infection: fever, chills, dangerously low blood pressure, and blistering skin lesions
  • For wound infection, which may spread to the rest of the body: fever, redness, pain, swelling, warmth, discoloration, and discharge (leaking fluids).


Flooding can result in excessive breeding of mosquitoes, resulting in the possibility of diseases such as West Nile virus being carried by the insects.

Protective measures include:

  • Wear long-sleeved, long-legged clothing with socks and shoes outdoor when practical;
  • Use mosquito repellant with DEET; follow label instructions; products with up to 35 percent DEET will provide adequate protection under most conditions;
  • Use repellent with 10 percent or less concentration of DEET on children as recommended by the Academy of Pediatrics; follow label directions;
  • Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient such as DEET while you are outdoors; and
  • Avoid mosquitoes whenever possible; stay indoors or take personal protective measures, especially between dusk and dawn.

For more information on safety after a storm, visit HealthyMS.com/afterstorm.