President approves federal disaster relief following summer storms

Mid-Missouri counties are set to receive federal disaster relief following a federal disaster declaration from President Joe Biden.

Maries and Morgan counties were among those affected by severe weather that developed from July 29-Aug. 14. Storms caused tornadoes, straight-line winds, heavy rain and flooding across the state and significantly damaged public infrastructure, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Gov. Mike Parson requested the federal declaration earlier this month, saying the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) had been working with local and federal partners to gauge the damage from this summer's severe weather.

Joint preliminary damage assessments that SEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local emergency managers conducted estimated more than $14 million in infrastructure damage and emergency response costs eligible for federal assistance.

"This is important news for the communities that have been repeatedly impacted by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding this summer," Parson said in a news release. "We appreciate the President making federal assistance available, which will provide millions of dollars in much needed support to help repair roads, bridges, and other vitally important infrastructure across the state."

The president's disaster declaration also covered the counties of Adair, Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Bollinger, Camden, Christian, Clark, Crawford, Dade, Gentry, Greene, Grundy, Henry, Iron, Knox, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Ozark, Perry, Scotland, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Ste. Genevieve, Taney, Vernon, Wayne and Worth.

Local governments and qualifying nonprofit agencies can seek assistance for reimbursement of emergency response and recovery costs, including repair and replacement costs for damaged roads, bridges and other public infrastructure.

The declaration also opened assistance statewide through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Program. That program helps cover cost-effective measures meant to protect public infrastructure from future damage caused by natural disasters.

Those with unmet needs can reach the United Way by calling 211 or online at 211helps.org.