Missouri pays out $7.2 million for storm damage, Kansas adds counties to its list

Saturday, September 13, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- More than $7.2 million in disaster aid has been approved in Federal Emergency Management Agency grants and U.S. Small Business Administration loans for Missouri residents and businesses suffering damage from the severe storms and flooding between June 1 and Aug. 13, state and federal officials announced Friday.

A total of 29 Missouri Counties have been declared disaster areas due to these storms including Vernon County.

Angela Thomas was just one of more than 1,800 individuals to apply for federal assistance in Missouri after her home became severely damaged by flooding in June.

A Dedrick, Mo., resident, Thomas' household consists of her husband, six children and herself, so the effects of this damage on their lives, was significant, she said.

"We had extensive damage to our home," said Thomas. "Our family lost thousands of dollars worth of furniture and our children were uprooted from their bedrooms."

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and Kansas Division of Emergency Management added four counties to Kansas' July 9 storm and flooding disaster stricken list Friday, which covers property damaged by storms between May 22 and July 16. These new counties include Barton, Ellsworth, Kingman, and Lane. Bourbon County was included in the original group of 50 counties which found themselves with heavy storm damage.

More than $3.4 million has been approved in housing assistance to help disaster-affected Missourians with temporary housing and home repairs. The official amount released to Kansas has not been released at this time. Another $312,691 has been approved for Other Needs Assistance, which may include the repair or replacement of personal property and disaster-related transportation, moving, and medical expenses. Missouri provides 25 percent of ONA money provided to applicants.

More than 1,500 damage inspections have been completed in Missouri. FEMA is urging those waiting on an inspector to keep their appointments to speed recovery assistance.

"We would never have been able to make the needed repairs to our house if it were not for them (FEMA)," said Thomas. "They responded within two days of us filing. Actually it was within 24 hours. Within 48 hours we had an adjuster at our house and within a week we had a check."

According to officials at FEMA, more than $3.5 million has been approved thus far for Missouri homeowners and businesses by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Those who have questions about low-interest loans from SBA can call (800) 659-2955, e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visit SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.

SBA has issued a total of 1,490 applications to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofits. It is important that these applications are completed and returned as soon as possible. Completing the SBA loan application is a crucial step in the recovery process and may determine eligibility for other types of disaster assistance.

Approximately $8,000 has been paid in Disaster Unemployment Assistance to individuals whose employment was affected by the flooding. The program is administered by the state using FEMA funding and is secondary to non-disaster unemployment assistance.

The deadline to apply for assistance in Missouri is Sept. 30.

"If we knew of a good way to thank them, we would do it in a heartbeat," said Thomas about the government agencies which assisted her family during June's flooding. "Without them we never would have been able to repair our home and make it safe for our children again."

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