Missouri has received a major disaster declaration after record-setting floods impacted the southern portion of the state in early August.
President Barack Obama late last week approved the request for the declaration, which now makes 18 Missouri counties, including Phelps County, eligible for public assistance for response and recovery costs.
The president's action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe weather and flooding.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
According to a news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the federal disaster aid will supplement state and local recovery efforts in Missouri that were affected by the severe weather and flooding during the period of Aug. 2-14.
The counties included in the federal disaster declaration are: Barry, Camden, Cedar, Dade, Dallas, Laclede, Maries, McDonald, Miller, Osage, Ozark, Phelps, Pulaski, Shannon, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright.
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.
"This strong system of widespread and deadly flooding caused an estimated $18 million in emergency response costs and damage to roads, low water crossings and other infrastructure," Gov. Jay Nixon stated in a news release. "This declaration will help these communities recover and rebuild."
Based on its population, Phelps County exceeded its own threshold of $155,788.20. The latest estimates indicate that damage to Phelps County roads and bridges totaled about $735,000. That does not include damage to private structures in the county.
FEMA and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) officials were in Phelps County Aug. 22 to make assessments of areas affected by the floods.