MISSOURI (KFVS) - President Barack Obama signed a Missouri disaster declaration on Thursday, January 21 and ordered federal aid for state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from Dec. 23, 2015 to Jan. 9, 2016.
This action makes federal funding available to people affected in the following counties:
- Cape Girardeau
- St. Charles
- St. Francois
- St. Louis
- Ste. Genevieve
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help people and business owners recover.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Residents and business owners with losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance on Friday, Jan. 22 by clicking here to register online or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
The deadline for most individual assistance programs is 60 days following the president's major disaster declaration. Disaster aid to eligible individuals generally falls into the following categories:
- Housing Assistance may be available for up to 18 months for displaced persons whose residences were heavily damaged or destroyed. Funding also can be provided for housing repairs and replacement of damaged items to make homes habitable.
- Disaster Grants, which are available to help meet other serious disaster related needs and necessary expenses not covered by insurance and other aid programs. These may include replacement of personal property, and transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses.
- Low-Interest Disaster Loans are available after a disaster for homeowners and renters from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover uninsured property losses. Loans may be available for repair or replacement of homes, automobiles, clothing or other damaged personal property. Loans are also available to businesses for property loss and economic injury.
- Other Disaster Aid Programs include crisis counseling, disaster-related unemployment assistance, legal aid and assistance with income tax, Social Security and veterans’ benefits.
The two strong storm systems in late December and early January brought severe weather and historic flooding to much of the state. The storms led to 16 confirmed deaths and destroyed or significantly damaged nearly 1,000 homes.
Governor Jay Nixon requested the major disaster declaration on Jan. 15.
"This was a significant disaster that did widespread damage, and its impact continues to be felt in communities across the state," Gov. Nixon said. "This federal declaration will help affected residents and businesses rebuild and recover, and I thank the President for granting our request."
Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri on Dec. 27, as heavy rain, flooding and flash flooding impacted the state.
On Jan. 2, the governor announced that the president had approved his request for a federal emergency declaration to speed debris removal and relieve the strain of response and recovery costs in the St. Louis region. As a result of that request, Gov. Nixon announced Operation Recovery, a federal and state debris removal program being coordinated by the Missouri National Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Debris removal has been underway in Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties.