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Mayor’s letter to Trump requests aid for recovery

Mayor George Flaggs is hoping a letter to the president will help the city receive federal assistance to defray the costs of damage recovery in the wake of last weekend’s tornadoes.

The mayor hand-delivered the letter to President Donald Trump Wednesday when he visited the White House to discuss the city’s success with the federal Opportunity Zone Program in Vicksburg and Warren County.

The letter discussed the April 13 rash of tornados that hit the city and county, adding, “The city of Vicksburg suffered significant damage, leaving thousands of residents without power and over 200 homes and businesses destroyed,

“Many of our residents are displaced and continue to suffer as a result of this severe weather outbreak. I prayerfully and humbly request federal assistance for the city of Vicksburg.”

Three EF-2 tornadoes touched down within minutes of each other April 13.

The first hit 4:57 p.m. east of U.S. 61 North on Sherman Avenue, ending nearly an hour later 20.37 miles away in Yazoo County.

The second touched down about 5:04 p.m. near Walmart on Iowa Boulevard, where it knocked down some large limbs and also damaged some plants and materials before moving on and causing heavy damage along Pemberton Square Boulevard.

The third hit about 5:08 p.m. at the intersection of Bowmar Avenue and Jeanette Street, where it hit a brick home, taking the roof off and caving in the front of the home and continued northeast.

According to information from Warren County Emergency Management, 182 houses, 21 businesses and one church, Elevate Church on Manor Drive, were damaged by the twisters.

Flaggs said Thursday city and state officials were still working on getting a disaster declaration. He said members of the state’s congressional delegation are also working to get disaster assistance for the state.

“We’ve got to get a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management) declaration,” Flaggs said. “That’s the only way you can be reimbursed is through a FEMA declaration. MEMA (the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency) does the assessment and assists the program. We’re trying to meet the (damage cost) threshold.

“I feel confident we’re going to get some assistance, I just don’t know how much,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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