HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) set up around the Pine Belt are available for tornado survivors to receive help.
Officials said since their opening on Friday, they have helped 200 people at the C.E. Roy Community Building. Although it is a big number, they speculate there are more out there who still do not know of the DRC's service.
“And yes we do expect more people to stop by and to get the help that they need, that particularly fits their situation, because every situation is different" said Ken Higginbotham FEMA Public Information Officer.
DRC's are designed as a one stop shop for survivors where they can find a variety of resources, such as, contractors, non-profit organization help, and loans.
“Most people who register to FEMA are going to be referred to the Small Business Administration for a disaster loan" said Jack Camp Small Business Administration Public Information Officer.
Camp continued, "You are going to want to apply for that lone, even if you are not interested in that loan. It doesn’t cost you to apply, and you are not obligated to take the loan.”
A government contractor,Greg Rice said, “It’s not something that I had to do, but I felt compelled that I needed to do it, I don’t know if you have seen the devastation, but it’s just atrocious.”
One tornado survivor Essie Ellis said the DRC was very beneficial.
"They gave me a lot of help, just by just talking to me, just talking to me, because a lot of stuff they were telling to me that I didn’t know and they did explain it to me.”
The following is information on DRC's and FEMA:
Recovery centers are run jointly by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency; representatives from MEMA, FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration, and American Red Cross are set up in the center to explain available assistance programs and help connect survivors with appropriate resources to assist in their recovery.
The Forrest County centers are located at:
C. E. Roy Community Center
300 E. 5th Street
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Petal Civic Center
712A South Main Street
Petal, MS 39465
The Lamar County center is located at:
Lamar County Safe Room
99 Central Industrial Row,
Purvis, MS 39475
Both centers in Forrest County are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice.
The center in Lamar County is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice.
If possible, survivors with disaster-related losses are encouraged to register for assistance before going to a disaster recovery center by calling FEMA’s helpline at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Helpline hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Survivors can also register online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
Homeowners, renters and business owners can apply for low-interest disaster loans at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. SBA representatives are available at the disaster recovery centers to answer questions and help survivors complete their disaster loan applications.
Questions can also be answered by calling the SBA disaster customer service center at 800-659-2955 or (TTY) 800-877-8339 for the deaf or hard of hearing, or by visiting sba.gov/disaster.
For more information on Mississippi’s tornado recovery, go to fema.gov/disaster/4295 or visit the MEMA site at msema.org. Follow MEMA on Facebook facebook.com/msemaorg and on Twitter @msema.