Salvation Army, Red Cross help storm victims
By By Sharon White/The Meridian Star
Feb. 24, 2001
Volunteers from Meridian's Salvation Army and the local American Red Cross have spent days helping victims of the Feb. 16 tornadoes that pounded Starkville and Columbus.
Meanwhile, Salvation Army Capt. Joseph Mur, commander of the local charity organization, said a crew of volunteers left Meridian right after hearing of the damage caused by the severe weather.
Mur said he returned to Meridian to restock the largest canteen the local Salvation Army owns, and to await orders to return to the areas still in need of assistance. He said he may leave as early as this weekend.
Reports from Washington, D.C., said Friday President Bush has declared Oktibbeha, Lowndes and Holmes counties "major federal disaster areas."
The declaration by the president will allow residents, businesses and local governments to obtain funds and other assistance from the federal government to assist in clean-up operations, repairing damage to structures and restoring essential services.
Federal funds will be provided for state and local governments in the three counties to pay for 75 percent of the eligible cost for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster and restoring damaged public facilities. Additional designations may be made at a later date after further evaluation, according to national reports.
Sharon White is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.