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JEFFERSON CITY - FEMA opened the doors of a new Disaster Recovery Center in Cole County over the weekend.

Victims of tornado and flooding damaged in counties declared damaged by FEMA are eligible to apply for federal aid.

People will have the chance to meet face to face with FEMA employees to see if they're eligible for aid, check the status of applications, and meet with other organizations that can provide aid.

Representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration are also on site to give details on low-interest loans it can provide in addition to insurance benefits and FEMA aid.

FEMA Media Relations Specialist Nikki Gaskins said the purpose isn't to get victims houses back to their pre-damage conditions, rather supplement their costs to get people back into livable homes.

"It really is a team effort here," Gaskins said. "We're just one piece of the puzzle working with the state, and other municipalities within the state to get people on the road to recovery."

Gaskins said FEMA has provided about $2.5 million in grant money directly to providers impacted by tornados and flooding to date.

According to a press release, FEMA-declared counties include: Andrew, Atchison, Boone, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Greene, Holt, Jackson, Jasper, Lafayette, Lincoln, Livingston, Miller, Mississippi, New Madrid, Osage, Pemiscot, Perry, Pike, Platte, Pulaski, Ray, St. Charles, and St. Genevieve.

The center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at the Cole County/Jefferson City Office of Emergency Management, 1736 Southridge Drive.

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