City And County Leaders Look For Federal Assistance To Help Rebuild

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The City of Columbus and Lowndes County continue to recover after last month’s deadly tornado.

As the sun shines on East Columbus, debris fills the streets, and blue tarps cover homes, as workers try to clean up the damage that was left behind.

“Right now we have approximately 322 homes that were damaged, maybe 83 to 85 businesses that were damaged in the area,” said Cindy Lawrence, Lowndes County EMA Director.

Of the large number of people affected, many showed up to a town hall meeting Monday night.

City and county leaders, along with officials from emergency management and relief organizations met with residents who’ve been impacted by the tornado and recent flooding.

The purpose of the meeting was to address residents and let them know about all of the resources available to them so they can being the rebuilding process.

“We’re using volunteer agencies like the Salvation Army is providing food and clothing,” said Lawrence. “We have the Red Cross that’s here and that’s providing financial assistance to some of the residents that received damages, or homes that were destroyed in the area. We also have United Way that’s providing assistance through all of their agencies.”

However, many residents are now looking to city and county leaders to see what other resources are available.

Mayor Robert Smith said right now they’re limited on offering any other additional services at this time.

Now they’re waiting and hoping to receive a little extra help.

“Right now we’re as far as we can go until the governor asks for federal assistance,” said Mayor Smith.

The mayor said the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be in town later this week to survey and assess the damage.

“Once they assess those numbers and the governor signs off, then the governor will request federal assistance,” Smith explained. “Once the governor requests federal assistance, that’s when FEMA will come in and that’s when you will get other resources, citizens will receive other resources.”

“Those persons who have insurance or no insurance, whether you’re a renter or an owner, if we get a federal declaration, yes there will be assistance available to assist you with the a building of your home,” said Lawrence.

Debris removal was another hot topic during Monday’s meeting.

Lawrence said if you want debris removed, you’ll need to bring it to the curb and the city will pick it up.

For more information on disaster relief, just visit for more information.

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