(Update:  On April 16, 2020, President Trump approved the Major Disaster Declaration requested by Governor Tate Reeves. Read more here.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Mississippi congressional delegation today sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him to approve Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’s request for an expedited major disaster declaration in the wake of devastating weather events across the state on Easter Sunday. 

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Trent Kelly (R-Miss.), and Michael Guest (R-Miss.) wrote that damage from the April 12 storms has put an additional strain on the state’s emergency response capability in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, warranting an expedited federal response.

If approved, the disaster declaration would unlock additional federal resources to supplement state recovery efforts.

The delegation letter referenced initial damage reports indicating 12 confirmed deaths and at least 120 injuries. The state has also reported 792 lost or damaged homes, in addition to storm-related damage to 15 businesses, four farms, 28 roads, and four bridges. More than 16,000 people are without power and debris continues to block roads and highways statewide. 

The full text of the delegation letter is below and here:

Dear President Trump,

In light of the extreme weather and tornadoes that hit the State of Mississippi on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, we request your full consideration of Governor Tate Reeves’s request for an expedited Major Disaster Declaration under the Stafford Act.  With state resources already strained by the ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis, an immediate federal response to these recent weather events is increasingly important.  

We appreciate the continued efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and anticipate expeditious assistance from the agency to assist state and local officials in Mississippi as they respond to the devastating weather events that occurred on April 12, 2020, while simultaneously working to mitigate the expanding coronavirus threat in our state.  

As Governor Reeves indicated in his request, state preliminary damage assessments are ongoing but current reports indicate that at least 120 people were injured and 12 Mississippians lost their lives as a result of these storms. Reports also indicate that 792 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage and more than 16,000 people are without power across the state. Additionally, at least 15 businesses, four farms, 28 roads, and four bridges were reported as damaged from these extreme weather events.  The debris and fallen trees from the storms continue to block access for emergency personnel and first responders.  

On April 12, 2020, Governor Reeves declared a State of Emergency in Mississippi to assist in the recovery.  However, because Mississippi is continuing to recover from several other disasters over the last 15 months, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, resources from the state government, local governments, and volunteer organizations are not adequate to recover from these most recent damages.  Significant federal assistance and cooperation are required. 

We are determined to help Mississippi recover by supporting the affected local communities and the State of Mississippi as they work to rebuild from these major weather events.  

Thank you for your consideration of this request.  Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need further assistance in this effort.

Roger F. Wicker, United States Senator
Cindy Hyde-Smith, United States Senator
Bennie G. Thompson, Member of Congress
Steven Palazzo, Member of Congress
Trent Kelly, Member of Congress
Michael Guest, Member of Congress