CONWAY — Gov. Jay Nixon Tuesday requested the federal government issue a major disaster declaration for the state of Missouri as a result of the severe storms that generated flooding and flash flooding throughout much of the southern portion of the state from Aug. 2-14.
The governor announced the request during a visit to Conway, which had flood damage to its streets and wastewater treatment system, where he spoke with local elected and emergency management officials.
“Earlier this month, many Missouri communities saw record rainfall that caused rivers and streams to rapidly overflow and leave widespread and extensive damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure in their wake,” Nixon said.
“The cost in responding to the flooding and in repairing public infrastructure and individual property will be high, and it’s appropriate to request assistance with those costs from the federal government,” the governor said.
According to Nixon, joint damage assessments were conducted in 22 Missouri counties.
Before a state is eligible to apply for federal assistance, damage to public infrastructure must meet a pre-determined threshold, which for Missouri is $8.2 million.
Based on its population, Phelps County has already exceeded its own threshold of $155,788.20.
At Tuesday’s Phelps County Commission meeting, County Clerk Carol Bennett said the total estimate to county roads and bridges is about $735,000. That does not include damage to private structures in the county.
Nixon’s disaster declaration request is for both public assistance and individual assistance in the following 14 counties: Barry, Camden, Dallas, Laclede, Maries, McDonald, Miller, Osage, Ozark, Phelps, Pulaski, Taney, Texas and Webster.
The governor also is seeking public assistance in four additional counties – Cedar, Dade, Shannon and Wright – and individual assistance in four other counties: Dent, Gasconade, Morgan and Polk.
Individual assistance means that eligible individuals and households can seek federal assistance for uninsured losses from severe weather and flooding.
Public assistance allows local governments to seek assistance for response and recovery expenses associated with the severe weather and flooding.
“I want to thank emergency response agencies, as well as faith-based and volunteer groups, for their tremendous and immediate response, and local emergency managers and other officials for their efforts over the last few weeks to thoroughly categorize the extent of the damage that was done,” Nixon said.
On Aug. 22, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) officials were in Phelps County to make assessments of areas affected by the recent floods.
Phelps County Emergency Management Director Sandy North told commissioners Tuesday morning “that was the best FEMA crew I’ve ever had out there.”
North said she and the FEMA and SEMA officials visited about 40 to 50 homes in flood-affected areas.
Page 2 of 2 - On Aug. 6, the governor declared a state of emergency, which activated the State Emergency Operations Center and enabled the state to mobilize its resources, including the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to assist local authorities.
On Aug. 7 ordered the deployment of Missouri National Guard citizen-soldiers to assist local authorities in protecting lives and property from flooding.