Governor Bryant updates the state's recovery efforts
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Hurricane Isaac's wrath is now seen as downed trees, scattered debris, and flooding across much of south Mississippi.
However, the storm's effects remain with Governor Phil Bryant who says he witnessed the 10 foot surge that rolled into Waveland.
"Add that to a difficult situation of high winds and rains and a four foot tide, and you can understand what the people of the Gulf Coast were facing," recalled Bryant at a Friday afternoon press conference.
More than 500 residents were rescued from rising waters during and after the storm. The Mississippi National Guard saved 372 of those victims.
"I was down here during Katrina, at Waveland and it just so happens that's where I went back to. And you know, as I speak to you now my boots are still trying to dry out from the rescues. But we were able to get boats on the water, literally, as the hurricane was making landfall," says Mississippi National Guard MSgt. Eric Jude. He is a member of the National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group.
Damage assessments are starting to roll in. The state's federal disaster declaration includes much of south and central Mississippi. Government and non-profit agencies could have most of their expenses, related to the hurricane, reimbursed.
"To know that F.E.M.A.'s cost sharing program will assist with 75%, is critical to the recovery effort that we will not put into place," says Bryant.
Bryant remains hopeful F.E.M.A. will approve individual assistance coastal residents.
While the destruction Isaac left behind doesn't compare to Hurricane Katrina, Bryant believes seven years later the state can better respond to natural disasters.
"We are just so much better prepared in our resources, our materials, the way the construction on the coast now exists, and the plan we have in effect," explained Bryant.
As of Friday afternoon, more than 650 evacuees were in 19 shelters across the state.