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Tornado destruction across Mississippi and Alabama could take years to repair, FEMA administrator says

FEMA administrator on deadly tornadoes
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on deadly Southern tornadoes and disaster response 03:34

Over the weekend, officials from FEMA visited a tornado-ravaged community to meet with residents and evaluate the extent of the damage after a twister caused destruction across Mississippi and Alabama on Friday. At least 25 people were killed. 

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell accompanied the team and said her main concern was the significant damage she observed. Criswell said that the recovery process would take a long time, as evidenced by the images captured. 

"I mean, we can see from the images that we are going to have a long-term recovery on our hands here. And we are going to be able to be on the ground with them and support the state of Mississippi. I talked to Gov. Tate Reeves extensively about some of the things that he's going to need — housing is going to be our big issue," Criswell told "CBS Mornings." 

On Sunday, President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for Mississippi.

In terms of long-term recovery, Criswell said FEMA's focus will be rebuilding communities, restoring the homes and ensuring that the residents can remain in the community. 

Criswell said that the recovery process could extend for several months and even years to fully restore the community to its pre-disaster state. However, she also expressed optimism that the community would emerge stronger than ever with the assistance of FEMA and the state government. 

"It's going to be better than ever. Everybody was so inspired, and they have great hope about what's in store in the future as we continue to work with them during this rebuilding process," Criswell said.  

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