JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has denied state requests for federal major disaster declaration for 18 Missouri counties.
Gov. Jay Nixon who declared a state of emergency on Feb. 29, made the request for counties impacted by the tornadoes, hail, high winds and heavy rain on Feb. 28-29.
"A major disaster declaration would have made additional assistance available to Missourians as they recover and move forward from this round of severe weather," Nixon said. "I went to southern Missouri and saw the serious property damage to homes and businesses, and the places where Missourians lost their lives. While this decision is disappointing, we'll continue at the state level to provide the critical resources, assets and personnel that are necessary to help these affected communities recover and rebuild."
Gov. Nixon's request was for the following counties:
Adair, Barry, Barton, Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Dallas, Daviess, Laclede, Linn, Madison, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, Stoddard, Stone and Taney.
Stoddard County Emergency Management Director Kent Polsgrove says he's disappointed in the decision and feels a number of people could use that federal help.
Martha Norris lives on Stoddard County Road 271, one of the hardest hit areas in the county. The storm ruined two of her barns, but she says she will not rebuild. She says the announcement that FEMA won't help will hurt her neighbors.
"My neighbors down here, they have a lot of things to clean up," said Norris. "And I'm sure that will cost a lot to get it cleaned up. They lost their barn, the next neighbor lost their house, and a brand new shed that he had just built. And I know it will cost a lot of money to replace that. I'm sure they had insurance, but it would take a lot of insurance to cover that."
Missouri State Senator Robert Mayer, Dexter (R), says he was surprised by FEMA's denial. He says thousands of people were affected, and so he will encourage Gov. Nixon to appeal the decision. Mayer says he plans to work with Rep. Jo Ann Emerson and other state officials to find other assistance, possibly from the State of Missouri.