UPDATE: FEMA agrees to consider Missouri disaster assistance expansion
COLUMBIA — The Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to consider expanding Missouri's initial federal disaster aid Thursday.
FEMA agreed to conduct new damage assessments in counties where newly identified damaged homes have been found, according to a press release from the governor's office.
It has also agreed to use ground teams for evaluating areas previously reviewed by helicopter, and to reevaluate the impact of insurance levels and income levels on recovery ability.
Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency @fema agreed to our request to consider expanding last week’s federal disaster declaration. FEMA agreed to reevaluate the request for inclusion of 21 counties that were denied federal assistance on July 9.— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) July 18, 2019
The agreement comes in response to a request from The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday.
They requested expansion in two ways: making FEMA assistance available in 21 additional counties, and providing assistance to public agencies in 68 counties to help with infrastructure repairs.
We requested that FEMA consider including residents and businesses in Adair, Barton, Callaway, Christian, Clark, Cooper, Dallas, Douglas, Gasconade, Grundy, Harrison, Hickory, Howard, Jefferson, Laclede, Lewis, Macon, Polk, Saline, St. Louis, and Ste. Genevieve counties.— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) July 16, 2019
“Many Missouri communities have been hit hard this year by flooding and severe storms that have damaged and destroyed homes and businesses. Public agencies have also been impacted by severe damage to roads, bridges, and public buildings,” Governor Parson said. “Expanding the disaster declaration is warranted due to the extent of the damage across these additional counties and the high cost of repairs.”
The request comes one week after President Trump approved FEMA assistance to the following counties: Andrew, Atchison, Boone, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Greene, Holt, Jackson, Jasper, Lafayette, Lincoln, Livingston, Miller, Osage, Pike, Platte, Pulaski, and St. Charles.
SEMA said that the counties they requested help for today were previously denied in the July 9 federal disaster declaration, but new information gathered shows an increased need for assistance.
In the request, SEMA said that it, FEMA and other local agencies had identified $26 million in infrastructure damage and emergency response costs. It also cited $23 million in expenses for Missouri related to damages and other expenses.
SEMA also requested joint damage assessments for the counties of Cape Girardeau, Marion, Newton and McDonald. These assessments are being requested with the expectation that it will later request for the counties to be included in the disaster declaration.