Obama Declares Disaster In Mississippi After Tornado Hits

President Obama declared a disaster area in Mississippi after a tornado tore through a town and college campus and damaged over 800 homes in the state’s southern region.

The president ordered federal aid to help supplement state and local recovery efforts in the region.

The federal aid specifically helps Forrest and Lamar counties, which were hit hardest by Sunday’s massive tornado, reports The Washington Post.

The tornado lasted more than five minutes and sustained maximum winds of 170 mph. It forged a path through Mississippi three-quarters of a mile wide.

The federal disaster assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs as well as low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

The assistance also offers programs for individuals and business owners who need help recovering from the tornado. Damage surveys are still being conducted and authorities say more counties could be added once the surveys are compiled.

Yahoo! News notes that officials believe it could take tens of millions of dollars to repair the damage the tornado did to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

The university plans to resume classes on Thursday, though 87 sections of the school will be in temporary quarters. The tornado damaged eight or nine buildings on the school’s campus, one of which will have to be torn down.

The majority of the damage at USM will likely be covered by its $500 million insurance policy. The school will likely only be responsible for the $100,000 deductible.

There is no word on if President Obama plans to visit the disaster area to survey the damage caused by the massive tornado.