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FEMA Aid Tops $9 Billion As Mississippi Recovery Begins Year Two

From: FEMA          Filed 9/5/06   GCN

Mississippians step into the second year of recovery from Hurricane Katrina with federal disaster assistance topping $9 billion – and increasing.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has paid that amount to individuals, households, communities and state and local governments of Mississippi to help pick up the pieces from the largest natural disaster to hit the United States. The state partially matches all the federal disaster assistance programs.

"We continue to work closely in recovery efforts with cities and counties throughout our state, said Mike Womack, interim director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). "The progress Mississippi has made is due in no small part to the perseverance and optimism of its residents."

The disaster assistance paid to individuals has been for shelter, rent and other needs so they can begin to move on with their lives. Funds have been paid to local and state governments to help rebuild roads, bridges, public utilities, schools, recreational facilities, and to reimburse for emergency protective measures.

“We are as dedicated to this state’s recovery today as we were right after the storm,” said Nick Russo, federal coordinating officer for the Mississippi recovery. “This mission is being accomplished through effective partnerships developed among the federal, state and local governments, and voluntary agencies.”

FEMA has also disbursed funds to help pay for public safety programs, to restore historical landmarks and to support mitigation projects for protection from the onslaught of another possible storm.

The future of Mississippi includes continued financial assistance from the federal government to help rebuild the state.

“FEMA will remain here to play a strong supporting role in the Mississippi success story,” said Russo.

FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

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