Kansas City, MO -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s Region VII office reported today that during 2002 four federal disaster declarations impacted the Region, which is comprised of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. A devastating January ice storm, spring tornadoes, and summer flooding wreaked havoc on the lives of citizens and communities.
The year began with the biggest disaster to hit the Region since the Great Midwest Floods of 1993. FEMA funding obligated at year-end shows the costliest 2002 disaster recovery in Region VII was the January ice storm that crippled parts of Kansas and Missouri. Both Kansas and Missouri received disaster declarations as a result of this storm. Disaster funding for ice storm damage in the two states has reached more than $111 million.
Missouri was hit with a second disaster in the spring with tornadoes and widespread flooding in April and May. To date, disaster recovery funding for the spring events has reached almost $47 million.
June brought flooding to Iowa, and FEMA Region VII responded. To date, over $8.7 million has been approved for disaster recovery programs in Iowa.
Reflecting on disaster activity in 2002, Regional Director Dick Hainje said, "This past year has shown us that disasters can strike often and with little or no warning. As we move into 2003, we will continue our efforts to educate our citizens and communities on issues of safety and preparedness."
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Funding amounts are based on a percentage of all costs of a declared disaster. Almost $6.8 million is available to the state of Kansas to fund mitigation projects; Missouri HMGP funding for 2002 is nearly $13.5 million; the flood disaster made more than $1.2 million available in Iowa.
Under the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further Recovery From and Response to Terrorist Attacks, FEMA Region VII awarded a total of $5,879,299 to the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. These grant funds will help with Emergency Operations Planning, the assessment of each state's Emergency Operations Center, and the growth of Citizen Corps and the Community Emergency Response Teams.
Efforts to increase the preparedness of our communities have led to the formation of Citizen Corps Councils across the nation. Citizen Corps, a component of the USA Freedom Corps, is a nationwide initiative to provide individuals with opportunities to volunteer in a range of homeland security measures within their communities. Local councils allow for collaboration between the emergency management community, first responders, Tribal Nations and individual citizens. In Region VII, there are 12 verified Citizen Corps Councils. For more information go to www.citizencorps.gov.
Under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, FEMA has funded local fire departments in their efforts to meet basic fire fighting standards. As of January 15, grant amounts to fire departments in Region VII states are:
- Iowa: $7,202,296
- Kansas: $5,118,460
- Missouri: $10,291,616
- Nebraska: $2,392,162
The program is ongoing and FEMA will be announcing more awards in the future.
"We are committed to the safety and security of our citizens," said Regional Director Hainje. "As the Agency moves into the Emergency Preparedness and Response directorate of the new Department of Homeland Security, Region VII will continue its mission to prepare for and respond to all types of hazards that may affect our communities.&quo...