Governor declares statewide emergency - - Jackson, MS

Governor declares statewide emergency

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At least 280 people are dead in the aftermath of a massively destructive storm system that swept across the southeast Wednesday.

Governor Haley Barbour has sent a personal request to President Barack Obama to help in cleanup. Deaths have been reported in 12 counties, and even more are digging out from the damage Thursday.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is coordinating with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to send relief efforts to those affected by these strong storms.

Governor Barbour is expanding his state of emergency to cover the entire state in the wake of Wednesday's deadly storms. He's also sent a request to Washington for a federal disaster declaration for all of Mississippi.

The Governor is deploying state agencies to some of the hardest hit areas, and the national guard, to help secure several areas where multiple homes were destroyed.

Governor Barbour says, "Local and state teams will be assessing damage today and for the rest of the week I will ask the federal government for disaster declarations in every area that might qualify because the aggregate damage statewide is extremely large from this outbreak of tornadoes."

This video from Skycopter 3 shows more of the damage the tornado caused from above as it streaked across the eastern side of the state. Some eyewitnesses say it's some of the worst damage they have ever seen.

120 Mississippi Army National Guard troops have also been deployed to Monroe county to help the Monroe county sheriff's department around Smithville, which was hit hard by the storm.

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