DeSoto County first responders who are a part of a task force team deployed to the Gulf Coast, have been assisting with boat rescues in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which slammed Louisiana and coastal Mississippi.
Mississippi Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team received orders to head to the stricken area on Saturday ahead of expected landfall. The 35-member team includes personnel from DeSoto County EMA, Southaven FD, Olive Branch FD, Lafayette County EMA, Tupelo FD, Corinth FD, Water Valley FD, Amory FD, and Mississippi Fire Academy.
The team is lead by DeSoto County EMA Director Chris Olson and Deputy Task Force Leader Ben McMinn.
MSTF1 specializes in swift water and residential rescues.
According to a statement Monday on the Task Force's Facebook page, "boat teams have responded to several requests for assistance over the last 24 hours and anticipate more requests through the evening."
Governor Tate Reeves issued a State of Emergency authorizing the use of state resources for response and recovery activities, and the deployment of personnel for storm response efforts, as well as federal assistance.
The declaration covers 24 counties: Adams, Amite, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Stone, Walthall, Wayne, and Wilkinson.
Ida was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday, but brought heavy rains, a powerful storm surge, and damaging winds to New Orleans and coastal Mississippi and Alabama.
Ida made landfall Sunday in southeastern Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum winds of 150 miles per hour and a storm surge which reversed the flow of the Mississippi River.
Harrison County saw flooding and downed trees, and experienced widespread power outages. As many as 125,000 Mississippi customers are without power.