Thomasville, Missouri

STILL FLOODED – This is not a creek, and that is not a garage. Looking west from the eastern end of Market Street near the intersection with Shannon St. in Thomasville, the street looks like a creek. Resident Gabe Trobaugh looked it over and muttered, “We’re still flooded in July.” The water has never fully gone down since the flooding in April, due to the saturated ground. The Eleven Point River is about 600 feet south of the point where this photo was taken. The home at right is missing its eastern wall. A metal workshop building on the neighboring property to that side crashed into the home with the force of the raging river.

More than $66 million in payments have been made to flood survivors in Missouri since the presidential disaster declaration was made June 2, reported the state’s disaster recovery team led by Coordinator Patrick Baker in a media conference call on Thursday.

Of that, $10.2 million of Individual Assistance has been awarded to 1,588 survivors by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $9.1 million to 140 applicants by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and $47 million to 931 Missouri policyholders by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is still processing claims.

In addition, a $500,000 Crisis Counseling Program Grant has been awarded to the Missouri Department of Mental Health by FEMA to fund psychological services to help build resiliency among disaster survivors.

Aug. 1 is the deadline to apply for Individual Assistance from FEMA, as well for Physical Damage Loans from SBA. Business owners, homeowners and renters in Howell and surrounding counties may apply for both, but should go through FEMA first.

To apply for assistance, call 800-621-3362 or visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

STATE ASSISTANCE

Officials have consistently stressed that flood insurance is more effective in recovery and rebuilding than federal assistance money, and continued to hold that line during the conference. However, in localities that don’t participate in the NFIP, property owners cannot purchase flood insurance, save for some very expensive private policies, representatives of FEMA and SBA recently told the Quill.

According to a FEMA document updated Friday, the Community Status Book Report for Missouri, 163 communities in the state do not participate in the flood insurance program. Howell, Oregon, Ozark and Wright counties are among them.

Shannon, Douglas and Texas counties are not listed among participating or nonparticipating communities, though the cities of Birch Tree, Eminence and Winona in Shannon County; Ava in Douglas County; and Cabool and Houston in Texas County are all participating communities.

Similarly, Mtn. View, West Plains and Willow Springs in Howell County; Alton and Thayer in Oregon County; Theodosia and Gainesville in Ozark County; and Hartville and Mansfield in Wright County all participate in NFIP.

Ripley County is the only locale included in any part of Quill coverage area in which the county government has agreed to participate in the national program.

Asked during the conference call by the Quill what state officials are doing to encourage local governments to participate in National Flood Insurance Program, Ron Broxton, manager of the State Emergency Management Agency’s (SEMA) recovery division, assured that the recovery team is conducting ongoing outreach to different counties and jurisdictions throughout the state.

He also told the Quill that individuals in sanctioned areas, those jurisdictions that are not NFIP participants, can still receive federal assistance benefits, though those benefits would be limited.

When the Quill asked what the state has to offer residents of those areas seeking to rebuild, whose “limited benefits” amount to $300 to $500, Broxton replied that those individuals can seek out other avenues, such as volunteer groups and faith-based and community organizations.

LOCAL IMPACT

Numbers presented to the Quill by John Mills with FEMA External Affairs show how the Individual Assistance (IA) and flood insurance payments are broken down locally in Howell and surrounding counties.

Grants awarded to individuals whose primary residences took damage not covered by insurance totaled about $1.99 million in this region, with an additional $2.4 million awarded in Carter and Ripley counties. Within Howell and surrounding counties, 269 households were awarded funding, and 147 of those households have been in Howell County alone. The next highest number of households awarded grants in south central Missouri is found in Carter County, where 128 have received FEMA support to date.

In Howell County, $598,800 in FEMA IA funds were awarded. In Shannon County, FEMA granted $315,700 to 35 households; Ozark County, $254,400 to 39 households; Oregon County, $68,200 to 25 households; and in Texas County, $244,000 to 23 households. Carter County households received $1.6 million in FEMA funds and 72 households in Ripley County were awarded $796,400.

No numbers were reported for Douglas County.

Flood insurance payments made by NFIP, a part of FEMA, came to $1.38 million in Howell and the surrounding counties that participate in the program; not all counties do, and in areas where local government does not participate in NFIP, flood insurance is not generally available. An additional $6.6 million in claims were paid out in Carter and Ripley counties.

Forty claims were paid out in Howell County, totaling $1.3 million. In Shannon County $15,400 in claims were paid to three policyholders and in Ozark County, $65,600 in claims were paid out to three policyholders. In Carter County, 32 claims were paid, coming to $2.7 million, and in Ripley county, 62 claims paid came to $3.9 million.

Broxton said that state officials are working with federal partners for public assistance reimbursements and reminds local governments that they must submit applications for public assistance through SEMA, which must then turn them over to FEMA by July 14. Public assistance covers such needs as infrastructure repairs and restoration of publicly-owned property.

“Our number one priority is helping Missourians recover,” said FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Connie Johnson-Cage. “Don’t eliminate yourself from consideration. Call 800-621-3362 before the Aug. 1 deadline and see if we can help.”

“You won’t be taking anything away from your neighbor if you apply,” she encouraged. “FEMA is here for the long haul.”

Baker, before turning the conference over to questions, said the desire to rebuild a community has to come from within.

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