Damage Caused by March 24-25 Tornado

A Message from Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith

The resilience of Mississippians was evident immediately after deadly tornadoes ripped through our state on March 24-25, 2023, leaving behind devastated communities. 

On March 26, 2023, President Biden approved Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ request for an expedited major disaster declaration, a request endorsed by the congressional delegation.  The declaration authorizes federal assistance to disaster survivors in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, Sharkey, Montgomery, Panola, and Washington  counties.  This assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, crisis counseling, low-interest loans and other programs to help recovery efforts. 

The following links are intended to help those affected by the storms access assistance as the long road to recovery gets underway.  In addition, there are links for those who want to help the victims of these terrible storms.  For the latest information on recovery from Mississippi tornadoes, visit March 24 2023 Severe Weather Disaster Information - MEMA (msema.org) and 4697 | FEMA.gov.  

FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency websites also include a public notice post which describes available FEMA disaster assistance and proposed FEMA-funded actions, including activities that may affect historic properties, threatened and endangered species, critical habitat, or wetlands and floodplains in Mississippi.  The public notice is posted at: https://www.msema.org/march-24-2023-severe-weather-disaster-information/ and DR-4697-MS Public Notice 001 | FEMA.gov.

I also encourage you to contact any of my offices for assistance.


March 24, 2023, Severe Weather Disaster Information


ATLANTA – Mississippi homeowners and renters in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe and Sharkey counties who were affected by the March 24-25 severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes may apply for FEMA disaster assistance.

Survivors can apply at DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362, or by using the FEMA mobile app.  The helpline is open and available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time in most languages.  If you use a relay service such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service.

The disaster declaration includes Individual Assistance to households in Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, Sharkey,  Montgomery, and Panola Counties.  Assistance for uninsured losses may include temporary lodging, basic home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance.  FEMA assistance cannot replace all losses, but if your policy does not cover all your disaster expenses, you may be eligible for federal assistance. 

When you apply for assistance, please have the following information ready:  

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security Number
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit 
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

A video on how to apply for assistance, is available:  youtube.com/watch?v=WZGpWI2RCNw  

Click here for Questions and Answers about FEMA Direct Temporary Housing Assistance,

FEMA Disaster Assistance Contact:  https://www.disasterassistance.gov/help/contact-us 

The FEMA federal assistance application deadline was May 25, 2023.

Beyond FEMA: Mississippi and Federal Recovery Resources (June 2023)

FEMA Tornado Recovery: Keep in Touch, Stay on Track (Fact Sheet, July 2023)

BACKGROUND:  FEMA Individual Assistance Program

When a state, territorial, or tribal government (STTL) determines an incident exceeds their capability to respond, the Governor or Tribal Chief Executive may request a declaration from the President through FEMA.  The President may provide federal assistance when the magnitude or threat of an incident exceeds the affected state, territorial, tribal, or local government’s capability to respond or recover.  For FEMA to provide supplemental federal assistance, the President must declare that an emergency or major disaster exists.

The Individual Assistance mission ensures disaster survivors have timely access to a full range of authorized programs and services to maximize recovery through partnered coordination of STTL governments, as well as other federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Individual Assistance Programs

FEMA assists individuals and households through the coordination and delivery of Individual Assistance programs including: 

  • Mass Care and Emergency Assistance (MC/EA) – Mass Care is composed of seven services known as activities:  sheltering; feeding; distribution of emergency supplies; support for individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs; reunification services for adults and children; support for household pets, service, and assistance animals; and mass evacuee support.  In addition to the seven aforementioned activities, MC/EA also supports the National Mass Care Exercise (NMCE) training program and offers partnerships through the following programs: Blue Roof Program and Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA).
  • Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) – CCP provides eligible STTLs governments, and non-governmental organizations with supplemental funding to assist disaster-impacted individuals and communities in recovering from the major disasters through the provision of community-based outreach and psycho-educational services.  The goal is to aid survivors in recovering from the adverse reactions to disasters and to begin to rebuild their lives.
  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) – DUA provides unemployment benefits and re-employment assistance services to eligible survivors affected by a Presidentially-declared major disaster.  These services are under the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Labor and administered by the state, territorial, tribal, and local government emergency management officials of the affected area(s). DUA is only available to those eligible survivors who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance (UI).
  • Disaster Legal Services (DLS) – DLS provides legal aid to survivors affected by a Presidentially-declared major disaster through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the American Bar Association.  DLS is put into effect during Presidentially-declared disasters and is available to survivors who qualify as low-income.
  • Disaster Case Management (DCM) – DCM is a time-limited process that promotes partnership between a case manager and a disaster survivor in order to assess and address a survivor’s verified disaster-caused unmet needs through a disaster recovery plan.  This disaster recovery plan includes resources, decision-making priorities, providing guidance and tools to assist disaster survivors.
  • Individuals and Households Program (IHP) – IHP Assistance provides financial assistance and direct services to eligible individuals and households who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs.  IHP Assistance is not a substitute for insurance and cannot compensate for all losses caused by a disaster; it is intended to meet basic needs and supplement disaster recovery efforts.  IHP Assistance is not considered income or a resource when determining eligibility for welfare, income assistance, or income tested benefit programs that the federal government funds, such as Social Security benefits or disability income.  IHP Assistance is also exempt from garnishment or seizure, but this exception does not apply to FEMA recovering assistance received in error or fraud.

Individual Assistance Service Delivery Channels

FEMA offers disaster survivors multiple options to access Individual Assistance.  Survivors may receive information and services through:

  • Internet or Smartphone Application – Disaster survivors may apply for IHP Assistance or check their application status on-line at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/.  Disaster survivors may also access FEMA via smartphone by downloading the application from https://www.fema.gov or through their mobile provider’s application store.
  • FEMA Toll-Free Helpline – Disaster survivors may call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) to register for assistance or check their application status. Those who use a relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their specific number assigned to that service.
  • Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) – Disaster survivors may apply for assistance in person at DRCs in or near their communities. DRCs are usually opened quickly after a disaster for a limited period of time. They are accessible and equipped to accommodate disaster survivors who need disability-related communication aids.  FEMA staff can assist with completing registrations or checking their application status.  FEMA coordinates with the state, territorial, tribal, or local government to establish DRC locations.
  • Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) Teams – FEMA may send staff into the affected communities to help disaster survivors apply for IHP assistance.  FEMA may also coordinate with the state, territorial, tribal, or local government to send staff into emergency shelters to assist survivors.  FEMA staff are equipped with computers or similar devices to assist survivors with registering for IHP Assistance or provide them referrals to other resources.

Because FEMA’s programs are not designed to make a survivor whole, we encourage a whole community approach to disaster recovery by engaging the full capacity of non-governmental organizations and the private sector, including businesses, faith-based and disability organizations, and the general public, in conjunction with the participation of state, territorial, tribal, or local government, as well as other federal agency partners. 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers programs and resources to help with longer term recovery efforts.  A recovery resources guide is available here:  Disaster Resiliency and Recovery Resources (usda.gov).  A Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool is available here.

USDA offers a variety of programs to help farmers, ranchers, communities, and businesses that have been hard hit by natural disaster events. Visit USDA Disaster Assistance Programs to find available FSA programs and visit farmers.gov for additional USDA programs that can help agricultural producers recover.

Affected producers should contact their county office, which can be found here - USDA Service Center Locator.  Here is contact information for communities that could benefit from USDA Rural Development programs:  Mississippi Contacts | Rural Development (usda.gov).


The Small Business Administration (SBA) is making low-interest disaster loans available to businesses and residents in Mississippi following the announcement of a federal disaster declaration due to damages from severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on March 24-25.  Read the SBA announcement here and a Mississippi Fact Sheet here.

The disaster declaration covers Carroll, Humphreys, Montgomery, Monroe, Panola and Sharkey counties in Mississippi, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): Attala, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Grenada, Holmes, Issaquena, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Washington, Webster, Yalobusha and Yazoo in Mississippi; and Lamar and Marion in Alabama.

SBA Long-term, low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations are available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and other sources.  Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the secure SBA website at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/.  Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.

SBA Portable Loan Outreach Center (PLOC) 
Sharkey County 

South Delta High School (parking lot) 
303 Parkway St
Rolling Fork, MS 39159 

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

The SBA Disaster Loans application deadline was May 25, 2023.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is making mortgage insurance available for survivors rebuilding storm-damaged homes.


Safety After a Storm

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health is providing the free crisis-counseling services and referrals.  Choose which location best suits your needs and call:

  • Panola County: Region 2 - 866-837-7521
  • Monroe County:  Region 3 Lifecore Help Group -- 866-255-9986;
  • Carroll, Humphreys, Sharkey and Montgomery County: Region 6 Life Help Community Mental Health Center – 866-453-6216;
  • The Department of Mental Health at 877-210-8513 (the statewide number) provides information and referral services; 
  • The 988 Suicide and Crisis Line is also available for you to speak with trained crisis counselors by simply dialing 988.



Free crisis counseling services are also available for survivors in the affected areas. These services are available 24 hours a day by calling (800) 985-5990 or by visiting https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline.


Monetary Donations

American Red Cross (Southern Tornadoes and Storms)
P.O. Box 37839
Boone, Iowa  50037-0839
1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669)

The Salvation Army - Disaster Relief
P.O. Box 1959
Atlanta, Georgia  30301
1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769)

Volunteer Opportunities

A list of agencies with volunteer opportunities can be found at VolunteerMississippi.org.  Visit:  https://volunteermississippi.org/donatedisastersupplies/