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DeSoto County residents waiting for federal assistance decision


Jan. 25, 2020

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - It’s been almost two weeks since tornadoes and straight-line winds ripped through parts of the Mid-South destroying areas of DeSoto County.
Officials submitted documents to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency or MEMA. The state will turn those numbers over to FEMA who will then have the final say.
We talked to Craig Vinson shortly after the destruction on Allison Road in Olive Branch. Friday morning we checked back in with him.
"Now it's starting to take a toll on me. We're going on two weeks and it's just been all day every day of hard work down here,” said Vinson.
Vinson says it's tough to see his property muddy, flattened and destroyed. Not only has tree and limb pickup been a headache, it's all the other debris that adds to it.
“There's sheet metal everywhere and this metal is really hard to deal with. It's flimsy and the edges are like razor blades and they'll cut you to pieces,” said Vinson.
Like many other residents, Vinson has paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars in clean-up costs.
Because of the high number of insured residents in DeSoto County, they will likely not receive individual assistance from the federal government.
"Most of the direct aid that they're going to receive is actually in the county now through our disaster relief teams in terms of debris clean-up, food, water, tarps and housing,” said DeSoto County Emergency Services Deputy Director Josh Harper.
Officials want to encourage DeSoto County residents to use the resources currently available through the county.
The federal aid the county is applying for will go toward reimbursing the county for expenses already accrued.
"Us along with the other 24 counties that were affected from this storm have to collectively meet that $4.5 million threshold,” said Harper.
It could take days if not weeks to hear back from the federal government. Local officials are also working to secure low-interest rates for those residents who may need it.
Donations can be made to the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi at https://cfnm.org
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