FEMA opens help centers in Morehouse, Poplar Bluff

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened a disaster recovery center Tuesday at the Morehouse Fire Department to provide access and information for those affected by recent flooding.

So far, 363 households in New Madrid County have filed for FEMA assistance, said John Mills, external affairs field specialist.

Mayor Pete Leija said the center had a steady crowd Tuesday afternoon.

"There's a lot of folks that just don't have a place to go," he said. "There's also a lot that are staying in their homes even though they aren't

safe."

In Morehouse 280 homes, about two-thirds of the town's residences, sustained water damage from recent flooding. On May 9, New Madrid, Mississippi and Butler counties were declared federal disaster areas after heavy rains contributed to major flooding. St. Louis County and Taney County also received disaster declarations.

In Butler County, 323 households have applied for FEMA assistance and in Mississippi County, 174 households have already applied, Mills said.

To date, FEMA has approved $4.1 million in disaster assistance grants to Missouri families, he said.

FEMA will open a second disaster recovery center in Southeast Missouri at 1 p.m. Thursday at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff. FEMA already has a center open in the St. Louis area to help tornado victims there.

People should register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 before visiting the center, Mills said.

The centers in Morehouse and Poplar Bluff will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays until further

notice.

FEMA assistance is available to cover uninsured losses from flooding, including temporary housing, repair costs and home replacement. Money is also available to replace lost clothing, household items and disaster-damaged vehicles. Moving and storage expenses as a result of the disaster may also be covered by FEMA funds.

Representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration are also available at the center to explain assistance programs.

SBA low-interest disaster assistance loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Home­owners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of any size and private not-for-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

105 E. Beech St., Morehouse, MO

2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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