Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 19, 2016

FEMA will have claim center here

By Rupert Howell
Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey and Panola County Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole both confirmed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) are looking at using the old Goody’s building, the original Batesville Walmart on Keating Road, as a temporary regional center to process disaster claims.
Those claims come from the December 23 tornadoes and straight line winds followed by local flooding through December 28 that together damaged homes, farm buildings and equipment, crops, roads and bridges and timber.
As many as 200 claim processors, “from all over,” could converge at the facility once given final approval according to Cole.
A disaster recovery center is open in Quitman County to provide assistance to survivors of the December storms run jointly by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and hosts representatives of federal and state agencies who can explain the various programs designed to help survivors recover.
That center is located at the Marks Fire Department, 108 W. Main St. in Marks.  It is open Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., until further notice.
A similar center is open for Coahoma County to provide assistance. That center is located in the Clarksdale Civic Auditorium, 506 E. Second St. Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice.
Meanwhile, “Emergency loans for farmers, ranchers, and operators are available through the Panola County Office of the Farm Service Agency,” Gerald G. Booker, FSA Farm Loan Manager, said Tuesday.
This authority is pursuant to President Obama’s declaration on January 4 of a major disaster in Mississippi caused by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred December 23 to December 28 according to Booker.  
Panola County is contiguous to the primary natural disaster area and has been designated eligible for Federal Disaster assistance pursuant to Section 321 (a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.
Applications for assistance in the disaster-stricken county will be accepted by FSA through September 6, 2016.
Farmers qualifying for emergency loans may borrow up to 100 percent of their actual production loss or the amount needed to restore their operation to its pre-disaster condition, whichever is less.  
The new emergency loan and outstanding principal balance of any existing emergency loan(s) owed by the applicant or any individual member of an entity cannot exceed $500,000.
FSA emergency loans cover losses from designated disasters and are made to qualified farmers who cannot obtain credit from other lenders in the local area

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