(TNS) - Missouri is set to receive federal disaster assistance after the White House announced on June 2 that a federal disaster declaration had been approved on behalf of Gov. Eric Greitens.
The official declaration, approved by FEMA, unlocks federal funding to individuals and communities who were affected by statewide flooding, thunderstorms, straight-line winds and tornadoes that occurred from April 28 to May 11 when as much as 12 inches of rain was deposited in portions of the state.
Greitens' disaster request, proposed on May 24, estimated total losses and expenses of more than $86 million caused by 12 rivers exceeding flooding levels which resulted in extensive damage to homes, businesses and roads and bridges.
The hardest hit areas of the hazardous weather events appeared to be in southern Missouri and the St. Louis area. At least five deaths were attributed to the statewide flooding event, according to the Associated Press and other media reports.
The tri-county area of Camden, Morgan and Miller counties has been included in FEMA's cost-sharing program for emergency work and repairs or replacement of disaster-damaged infrastructure including roads and bridges along with 43 other counties in the state.
On May 18, Camden County Road and Bridge Administrator Lee Schuman, P.E., told the commission that he was approximately two-thirds of the way finished calculating the damage to road and bridges, but had already reached the threshold to qualify under FEMA's public assistance program.
For the fiscal year 2017, FEMA's small project minimum is listed at $3,100 and a maximum listed at $123,000 with a statewide indicator of $1.43 and a countywide indicator of $3.61 based on population. The federal share of assistance is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost and the state usually determines how the non-federal share is split with eligible applicants, i.e. counties.
Through this program, supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration or disaster-damaged publicly-owned facilities is provided through the federal government.
"The PA program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process," according to a press release from FEMA.
Additionally, 27 counties, including Phelps and Pulaski, have been approved for federal funding for affected individuals which includes assistance for temporary housing grants, home repairs, low-cost loans and coverage of uninsured property losses under FEMA's individual assistance program.
According to a press release from Greiten's office last Friday, a total of 284 businesses were destroyed or damaged, while 1,217 homes suffered major damaged or were destroyed with an additional 678 homes receiving minor damage.
Prior to the declaration approval, the first-year Republican governor had appointed Patrick Baker of Lt. Gov. Mike Parson's Office as Missouri's Flood Recovery Coordinator, the first time a Missouri governor had appointed a coordinator before a federal declaration had been issued.
"While the flooding has had a devastating impact on Missouri communities, our state team is already leaning forward across departmental lines to unsure we do everything we can to support recovery and rebuilding," Baker said in a press release through Greiten's office. "Missourians are resilient and determined, and working as a team I am confident we'll build communities stronger for the future."
As of June 2, Missouri still had 16 state roads closed due to flooding, down from a high of 384 on April 30, and down from 23 on May 22. The Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that replacements are being designed for three bridges that were washed out with construction expected to begin later this summer.
According to FEMA, individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
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