A program which could save Mississippians’ lives during a tornado is on hold. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency launched the Individual Safe Room Program last summer to use federal money to help people in certain counties build shelters, either in their homes or underground. Three of the eligible counties were Sharkey, Humphreys and Monroe, all of which have been hit by deadly tornadoes in the last few weeks. MEMA says a total of 491 applications have been received from those three counties but all of them are still awaiting approval by FEMA, which is asking some of the applicants for more information.
Even though this is a reimbursement program to cover a large part of the costs, anyone who’s impatient and starts work on a safe room before being approved won’t receive the money. MEMA is hoping to speed things up and eventually to expand the program to all 82 counties.
MEMA received almost 2,000 applications for the safe room program last year but only 853 were from eligible counties. The rest of the applicants will have to reapply once their counties become eligible.