Southern Tornadoes 2023 Disaster Guide
On March 24th, a supercell storm caused a major tornado that wreaked havoc on Mississippi and Alabama. A state of emergency has been declared with federal funds deployed to the affected area. As of Monday morning, 25 people have been killed, dozens injured, and 36,000 people are without power. Much of the devastation is concentrated in Rolling Fork, MS, a poor rural town with a population of about 2000. The storm was particularly destructive because of the wide nature of the tornado that occurred at night, which made it difficult to see forming. Severe weather continues on Monday.
HAC offers the following resources with information for nonprofits dealing with loss and damage from tornadoes: Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster site and Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.
If you are in need of emergency, transient housing, you can text SHELTER and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find where the shelter closest to you is located.
Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP)
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 or 1-800- 462-7585 TTY. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
Check Your Home: Structural Elements
If your home has experienced damage, remember to the check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundations cracks, missing support beams, or other damage. It may be safest to ask a building inspector of contractor to check the structure before you enter. Do not force jammed doors open, as they may be providing needed support to the rest of the home. Sniff for gas to ensure there are no natural or propane gas leaks. If you do have a propane tank system, make sure to turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system before you use it again. Check floors and ceilings to ensure they are not sagging from water damage; this can be especially hazardous. Take photographs of any damage as you may need them for insurance claims or FEMA claims later.
Apply for FEMA Assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline answers questions about the help offered by FEMA, how to apply for assistance, or the information in your account.
Toll-free helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
For hearing impaired callers only:
1-800-621-3362 (Video Relay Service)
Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET
American Red Cross Disaster Service: For referrals and updates on Red Cross shelter services in your area, locate a local Red Cross office through: https://www.redcross.org/find-help or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross helps disaster victims by providing safe shelter, hot meals, essential relief supplies, emotional support and health services like first aid. Trained Red Cross workers often meet one-on-one with families to develop individual plans and identify available resources to help aid recovery.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY REGIONAL OFFICE REGION IV
(serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
Federal Emergency Management Agency
3003 Chamblee Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
Main Number: 770-220-5200
Fax Number: 770-220-5230
STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES
Alabama Emergency Management Agency
5898 County Road 41
Clanton, Alabama 35046-2160
Phone: (205) 280-2476
Fax: (205) 280-2442
P.O. Box 5644 Pearl, Mississippi
24 hour emergency line: 1-800-222-MEMA(6362)
STATE HOUSING AGENCIES
Alabama Housing Finance Authority
7460 Halcyon Pointe Drive, Suite 200
Montgomery, AL 36117
Phone: (334) 244-9200
Mississippi Home Corporation
735 Riverside Drive
Jackson, MS 39202-1166
Phone: (601) 718-4642
Fax: (601) 718-4643
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT STATE FIELD OFFICES
417 20th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Director Kenneth E. Free
Dr. A. H. McCoy Federal Building
100 West Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39269-1096
Director: Adrenace Williams
USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT STATE OFFICES
4121 Carmichael Road, Suite 601
Montgomery, AL 36106-3683
Phone: (334) 279-3400
Fax: (855) 304-8456
Nivory Gordon, Jr., State Director
Federal Building, Suite 831
100 West Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39269
Phone: (601) 965-4316
Fax: (601) 965-4088
Trina George, State Director