Hurricane Zeta left a trail of destruction and millions in damage in Mississippi when it came ashore Oct. 28, state officials said.
The state has documented tens of millions in damage from the storm, which had 100 mph winds and 7 to 9 feet of storm surge, The Sun Herald reported. In addition, there has been $10 million in damage to individual homes documented and $79 million in damage to public infrastructure, said state Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Michel said at a news conference last week with Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.
The state is applying to FEMA for both individual and public assistance, as well as business assistance through the Small Business Administration, he said. Individual and SBA assistance is being sought for George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties. Public assistance is being sought for those counties plus Perry and Wayne counties.
Michel said it’s not too late for other counties to be added to the list. “We will be able to add counties should counties meet the threshold,” he said.
Meanwhile, Biloxi reported $48.2 million in building permits, almost all of it to repair damage to four of the city’s eight casinos: Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Hard Rock Casino Biloxi, IP Casino Biloxi and Harrah’s Gulf Coast Casino.
While Zeta brought little rain, the storm surge caused flooding in parking garages and damage to electrical and mechanical systems, plumbing and exteriors, casino officials said.
Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is closed and reservations through the end of the year are canceled after Zeta ripped off some of the building’s facade and caused other damage.
Individual assistance provides money to people who have had major damage to their primary residence that is not covered by insurance. SBA assistance provides low-interest loans to eligible individuals and businesses.
Public assistance goes to local governments and other organizations for infrastructure repair. FEMA reimburses local governments at a rate of no less than 75% of the cost of emergency repairs completed within six months.
“We do anticipate a favorable response on public assistance; individual assistance is always very subjective so we will keep you posted as we move forward there,” Michel said.
FEMA recently denied Mississippi assistance for Tropical Storm Cristobal, which had $5.6 million in damage.
Nov. 27 was the deadline for Mississippi to request a major disaster declaration from FEMA, and Michel said it will likely be after Christmas before the state finds out if any of the assistance is approved.
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