SEMA to provide public assistance for flood damage

Thursday, August 1, 2013

State emergency management officials are working with local public entities in Cape Girardeau County and other federally declared disaster areas to begin repairing damage caused by inclement weather in June.

Gov. Jay Nixon requested a major disaster declaration from the federal government July 5 after severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding wracked the state. The declaration was approved July 19.

Cape Girardeau, Perry and Stoddard counties are among the many that qualify for federal assistance, which could be coming soon. Public assistance meetings were held Tuesday and Wednesday in Perry and Cape Girardeau Counties by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency to show state agencies, local governments and certain not-for-profit organizations how to submit applications for federal assistance.

"It's like an orientation," said Mike O'Connell, public information officer for SEMA.

The qualifying organizations must first write up projects, then submit the proposals and the application for reimbursement to SEMA, which administers the federal aid for the Federal Emergency Management Association.

"As an example, say you had a low water crossing that was washed out by flooding. It could be written up as a project, then you would determine the cost and we would give it a project number," O'Connell explained.

For projects that cost more than $75,000, he said invoices are turned over to SEMA for approval and reimbursement. But smaller projects that come in below that mark can be expedited.

"They take the money, complete the paperwork, but don't submit any bills," O'Connell said. "But they also don't get any more money if the project ends up costing more than they estimated."

As of July 19, it was estimated that Cape Girardeau County needed $750,000, Perry County needed $220,000 and Stoddard County needed $118,000. Once the cost is established, O'Connell said the real question is how many projects each county will require.

Mark Hasheider, assistant fire chief and emergency management coordinator for Cape Girardeau, said he was unsure of any specific projects that would be submitted, but said many likely would be directly related to emergency response for the July floods. He said this would include reimbursement for sandbagging material, transportation and levy monitoring. Other projects, he said, would likely be related to damages.

"I'm sure some will address some erosion concerns around Cape La Croix Creek, which are directly related to flood events," Hasheider said. "They may be submitted for eligibility to offset cost of repairs [which could include] erosion of the banks of the creek itself or possibly of nearby roadways."

The creek runs beneath South Sprigg Street, portions of which have been closed because of sinkhole formations that were exacerbated by the flooding. Hasheider said ground erosion aggravated by flooding also could lead to formation of holes and the city is working closely with FEMA to find solutions to both problems.

srinehart@semissourian.com

388-3641

Pertinent address:

2350 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Cape Girardeau County

Perry County

Stoddard County

Map of pertinent addresses

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