WASHINGTON – As people across the South begin assessing the damage and loss of life that happened during a severe weather outbreak Friday night, President Joe Biden promised the full support of the federal government during the recovery.
At least two dozen storm-related deaths have been reported across the South. Most of those happened in Mississippi, where monstrous tornadoes decimated several towns.
"The images from across Mississippi are heartbreaking," Biden said in a statement issued Saturday. "While we are still assessing the full extent of the damage, we know that many of our fellow Americans are not only grieving for family and friends, they’ve lost their homes and businesses."
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The president said he has been in contact with Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and the state’s congressional delegation and offered "full federal support" for the recovery efforts. He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has already deployed personnel and resources to the area.
"To those impacted by these devastating storms, and to the first responders and emergency personnel working to help their fellow Americans: we will do everything we can to help," Biden said. "We will be there as long as it takes. We will work together to deliver the support you need to recover."
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told FOX Weather on Saturday that she was working with state officials to get a federal disaster declaration approved for Mississippi. Reeves said he filed an expedited request for a major disaster declaration Saturday afternoon.
And by early Sunday morning, Pres. Joe Biden approved Mississippi’s disaster declaration, which will now make federal funding available to the victims of the deadly tornadoes in Carrol, Humphreys, Monroe and Sharkey counties.
That federal funding can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help people and business owners recover from the effects of the storms.