Gov. Nixon requests major disaster declaration

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

State seeking federal assistance for residents in 41 counties, SBA help for businesses

Gov. Jay Nixon today requested the federal government declare a major disaster for Missouri as a result of the two strong storm systems in late December 2015 that brought severe weather and historic flooding to much of the state.

The storms led to 15 confirmed deaths and destroyed or significantly damaged nearly 1,000 homes. Barry County is at $2.7 in damages as of Friday in public assistance only, and David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management director, said the county expected to see nearly $3 million in damages when all is said and done.

Compton said regarding individual assistance, Barry County had 33 single-family homes, 10 mobile homes and 80 business damaged in the floods. A monetary figure for those damages is not available, as individual assistance looks more at the impact of disasters to communities and businesses, and not at figures regarding damage.

"We are expecting to get presidential declaration for public assistance, because we are in pretty good shape for that," he said. "We are cautiously optimistic about individual assistance."

For the county to get public assistance, the threshold is $8 million in damage statewide, and at least $126,000 in Barry County.

In his request to President Barack Obama, Nixon sought individual assistance so eligible residents in 41 Missouri counties can seek federal assistance, such as help with temporary housing and repairs, and to replace household items damaged or lost as a result of flooding. In addition, the Governor is seeking assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist impacted businesses in the 41 counties. Those affected by the flooding are encouraged to document losses, including photographing damage and retaining receipts.

Nixon said damage assessments are continuing across the state, including in Barry County, to determine the costs for state and local government agencies and nonprofits in responding to and recovering from the disaster.

"Even as we continue to tally the costs of emergency response and of repairing roads, bridges and other public infrastructure, I'm asking for federal assistance from FEMA and the SBA to help Missourians with the uninsured losses to their homes and businesses," Nixon said. "This was historic flooding with devastating impacts on many Missourians, and it will be a long recovery process. A major disaster declaration will help in that effort."

The 41 Missouri counties included in the declaration are: Barry, Barton, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Douglas, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Maries, McDonald, Miller, Morgan, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Phelps, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright.

Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri on Dec. 27, 2015, as heavy rain, flooding and flash flooding impacted the state. The Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan also was activated, allowing state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions to provide emergency services.

On Jan. 2, Nixon announced that the President had approved his request for a federal emergency declaration to speed debris removal and relieve the strain of response and recovery costs in the St. Louis region. As a result of that request, Nixon announced Operation Recovery, a federal and state debris removal program being coordinated by the Missouri National Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Debris removal has been underway in Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.

For more information about documenting property losses, people may visit http://www.mo.gov/flood-recovery.

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