Various Towns, MS Disastrous Tornadoes, Feb 1971
HARDIN VISITS MID-DELTA -- DEATH TOLL AT 74.
Jackson -- (UPI) -- Secretary of Agriculture CLIFFORD M. HARDIN, acting as a personal representative of President Nixon, met here today with Gov. JOHN BELL WILLIAMS to discuss government assistance for the tornado-shattered Mississippi Delta.
HARDIN was among a group of high-ranking federal officials which flew to Mississippi following the barrage of storms which strafed several farm towns and rural areas across the cotton-rich Delta.
Sen. JAMES O. EASTLAND, D-Miss., announced in Washington that President Nixon had declared the Delta a national disaster, paving the way for federal aid to storm victims. EASTLAND was to arrive in Greenville at 3:15 p.m. today.
HARDIN said Nixon asked him to come to Mississippi "to visit the people and advise them of possible help the federal government could give them."
HARDIN conferred with WILLIAMS and other officials, including Gen. GEORGE LINCOLN, head of the federal Office of Emergency Preparedness, at an airpirt here this morning prior to taking a helicopter tour of the storm-ravaged area.
The governor, who toured the Delta Monday, described the situation as "disaster of major proportion." But he commended the people of the area for the manner in which they faced the massive problems stemming from the tornadoes and "the way they have handled this situation."
The Mississippi Civil Defense headqarters at Jackson confirmed at least 74 persons dead and approximately 500 injured in a six-county area. Property damage was expected to soar into the millions of dollars.
The number of persons killed in Mississippi alone when tornadoes touched down Sunday afternoon and night is already higher than the total killed by tornadoes across the United States during 1970.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported 650 tornadoes killed 73 persons across the country last year. In Mississippi 74 persons have been confirmed dead from Sunday's tornadoes, and the list is still growing.
Last year 27 tornadoes were reported in the state and five fatalities were attributed to them.
The latest death toll showed 22 killed in Leflore County; 21 dead ini Sharkey County; 17 dead in Sunflower County; seven in Yazoo County; five in Humphreys County; and two in Warren County.
State Civil Defense Director MILLER DENT told the federal authorities this morning a "low estimate" of damages in only two counties -- Leflore and Sunflower -- could reach $6 million. He described the devastation near the Pugh City area as "looking like you lowered the blade of a lawnmower and just cut a strip through there."
WILLIAMS said he talked with the President by telephone Monday night. He said Nixon told him he had a "special and warm place in his heart for the state of Mississippi since the disaster of the Mississippi Gulf Coast."
This was a reference to Hurricane Camille which ripped through the Mississippi coast in 1969.
LINCOLN also referred to the Camille disaster today. He recalled seeing signs along the coast after the hurricane saying: "We will rise again."
"I am sure the Delta will do the same," said WILLIAMS.
The OEP official indicated arrangements were being made to bring portable trailer units into the devastated area to give temporary shelter to the homeless. He said it was "impossible" to say now when the trailers would be available but "this will be done just as soon as possible."
EASTLAND said the "major disaster" designation by the President would open the door for large scale federal participation in the recovery operation -- including outright grants for public facilities, low cost home and business loans, and a host of measures designed to ease the burden of the rebuilding efforts.
Sen. JOHN STENNIS, D-Miss., said that within 12 hours of the storm, almost "as many deaths had been attributed to the Mississippi tornadoes as were attributed to the entire California earthquake two weeks ago."
Gov. GEORGE C. WALLACE of Alabama called the situation a "terrible tragedy" and directed his state civil defense director to offer assistance to storm victims in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Among the hardest hit areas were the tiny farming towns of Inverness, Cary, Pugh City, Little Yazoo and Delta City.
Sharkey County Sheriff MAURICE PHILLIPS said in his county alone $2 million would be a "conservative estimate" of damages. He said 87 homes were destroyed along with numerous churches and business establishments.
Twin County Electric Power Association was knocked completely out of operation in Sharkey, Humphreys and Washington counties at one point and Mississippi Power & Light Company officials reported the greatest windstorm damage to MP&L transmission lines in the history of the company. Work crews worked around the clock to restore service.
COL. W. W. GRESHAM, JR., of the Mississippi National Guard announced a "limited curfew" at Inverness and Moorhead in Sunflower County. He said the curfew, which went into effect at 8 p.m. Monday would be continued as needed on a day to day basis.
Fifty National Guardsmen patroled Sharley County in two and three man teams during the night to guard against looting while rescue workers operated truck-driven drag lines in area creeks and streams in the continuing search for missing persons.
Medical supplies and other emergency items were rushed to the stricken areas. Temporary refugee centers were set up in churches and schools for the homeless. The Red Cross rushed 17 emergency food vans and 50 staff members into the area.
Regional health officials warned residents of the stricken area to boil drinking water and be cautious of perishable foods, and officials at Rolling Fork reported backed up sewage was creating a health hazzard. The state board of health rushed 3,000 doses of adult diphtheria-tetanus vaccine to Indianola for injured persons in that area.
LIST OF THE DEAD
The following is an incomplete list of identified dead from Sunday's tornadoes:
LINDORA COLLINS, about 60.
HOWARD SANDERS, about 20.
ARCHIE SANDERS, 41.
MARY DAVIS, about 65.
DELIA BOOKER, 85.
JESSE JOHNSON, about 47.
MRS. JESSE (DORA) JOHNSON, 45.
ROBERT KELLY, about 20.
ED KELLY III, 11.
GEORGIA CRAWFORD, 65.
JEANETTE MILLER, 3 months.
SAUL HENDRICKS, about 69.
TYRONE or TYREE SARDEN, about 40.
MRS. S. A. AUSBORN.
RUBY TYLER AUSBORN.
SHARON PASCO, 9 months.
CHARLIE HOGAN, about 40.
MRS. EUNA IONE PRICE, 68.
JAMES RAY SHIPP, 52.
MRS. JAMES RAY (IODA) SHIPP, 52.
MRS. OLLIE HUNT, 55.
GERRY LEE McNUTT, one month, grandson of MRS. HUNT.
ARTHUR LEE JONES, JR., about 16.
RAYMOND H. WHITE, 62, of heart attack.
MRS. FRANKIE LEE TOWERS, about 45.
ELIZA PATSY PERNELL.
JIMMIE WEAVER, 16.
McKINLEY CORBIN, 60.
MRS. MABLE MATTIE, 80.
ROBERT RAMSEY SR.
LULA BELL RAMSEY.
ROGER LEE LOCKETT, child.
GENTRY LOCKETT, child.
DORIS PITTMAN, child.
LYNETTE LeFLORE, child.
WILLIAM STEVE TATUM, about 21.
THOMAS NEWELL PEPPER, 35.
MARY VIRGINIA PEPPER, 7, his daughter.
CHARLES AARON BRUMFIELD, 53.
MRS. KATE SWITZER ADAIR, 74.
BILLY DALE LANGSTON, 7.
BILLY JONES, about 15.
MRS. ROMIE HERRING.
Woman in late 20s, last name SWIFT.
JESSIE GOODMAN, 55.
OLLIE DANIEL, 14.
ELLA B. AMES, late 30s.
PATSY HENDRICKS, late 50s.
LESSIE HYDE, 45.
10 year old son of ESSIE B. LANGSTON.
MRS. DUKES, 50.
JEANELLE HAYWOOD, who was dead on arrival at General Hospital in Greenville. Hospital spokesmen said she was brought there from South Sunflower County Hospital in Indianola.
ELLA LENORE, 42.
JERRY LENORE, 9, and his twin sister, PATRICIA LENORE.
REGINALD EVANS, 4.
ORLANDO CARTER, infant.
At least two other persons are known to be missing in Cary, a relief worker told the Delta Democrat-Times today.
Delta Democrat-Times Greenville MIssissippi 1971-02-23