FEMA adds eight counties to list of federal disaster areas

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More people affected by flooding are now eligible for federal assistance after eight more Missouri counties have been declared federal disaster areas.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday added Cape Girardeau, Howell, McDonald, Pulaski, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard and Stone counties to a federal disaster declaration that already included New Madrid, Mississippi and Butler counties in Southeast Missouri as well as St. Louis and Taney counties.

Federal assistance is available to cover uninsured losses or expenses, such as temporary housing, home repair and replacement of household items.

People with any amount of damage from storms and flooding since April 19 should register with FEMA, FEMA spokesman John Mills said. People may call 800-621-3362 to register or visit www.fema.gov.

"The No. 1 priority is to help make people's homes safe, sanitary and functional, taking care of basic human needs," Mills said.

Whether people's homes sustained minor or catastrophic damage, they may be eligible for FEMA grant money that does not have to be paid back, he said.

So far, FEMA has approved $4.6 million in grant assistance to homeowners and renters statewide including $2.1 million in New Madrid County, 1.4 million in Butler County and $120,000 in Mississippi County.

"As more people register for assistance, we expect those numbers will go up," Mills said.

The State Emergency Management Agency continues to conduct damage assessments for public assistance.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

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