Kansas City, Mo. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) together with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the cities of Elwood and Wathena, Kan. will conduct two public meetings next week for residents living in the Elwood-Gladden and French Bottoms area of Doniphan County, Kan. and Buchanan County, Mo. to explain the increased risk of flooding in the area.
The meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2002, at the Elwood Community Center, 803 Massachusetts Street (Elwood, Kan.) and again from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2002, Wathena Community Center, 303 East St. Joseph Street (Wathena, Kan.).
Residents in these communities face increased flood risk because the Missouri River R471-460 levee system no longer provides the necessary level of protection from the one-percent annual chance flood. At the public meetings, residents will have an opportunity to talk with representatives of FEMA, USACE, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and their community officials in an informal, one-on-one setting. There will also be a short overview presentation to summarize the status of the levee restoration efforts and the impacts on community residents.
Restoration of the levee to the desired level of protection will take time. While the communities are taking the appropriate actions to restore the levee to its full flood protection level, FEMA will have to designate the potential area of flooding as a floodplain area. Once the area is designated a floodplain, residents with federally-backed loans will be required to obtain flood insurance. Residents with Preferred Risk flood insurance policies will have to change to a standard flood policy. Also, any new construction in the affected areas will need to meet elevation requirements until the levee is restored.
"People need to protect themselves from the increased risk by purchasing flood insurance," said Dick Hainje, director of FEMA's Region VII office in Kansas City. "I encourage area residents to attend one of these public meetings to learn about their level of risk and what they can do to protect themselves and their property."
Individuals and business owners can purchase flood insurance through the NFIP. There is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance through the NFIP. People should call their local agent or company or the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661 for insurance information and a list of agents.