KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Within hours of Governor Blunt's request, the President approved a major disaster declaration for 70 counties and the Independent City of St. Louis. This declaration provides for direct federal assistance to the state to support emergency needs in flood-affected counties in southern Missouri.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Region VII Regional Response Coordination Center in Kansas City is activated at a level 3, maintaining close contact with Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) operations to coordinate and assist as requested. Liaisons from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense/Defense Coordinating Element and the American Red Cross also are in the region's coordination center. It will remain up and running as long as Missouri's SEMA Operations Center (EOC) is operating.
Five FEMA liaisons are in the EOC, working closely with state counterparts to respond to immediate needs identified by emergency managers in affected counties. FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Parker is working from the state EOC as well as planning, logistics and operations specialists.
Conference calls with county emergency managers, federal, state and voluntary agencies coordinated by SEMA take place three times daily. These calls facilitate situational awareness of a fast-changing operating environment, providing targeted direction of resources to areas most in need.
The State of Missouri has requested bottled water from FEMA for the City of Piedmont in Wayne County. A main ruptured and the city is without water. The water will be delivered today to Piedmont from a federal staging area.
FEMA has activated its Federal Incident Response Support Team - Chicago for a potential deployment to Missouri to further provide response and management support.?
The FEMA/SEMA Joint Field Office, already established in Jefferson City to handle operations for the winter ice storm and January's tornado, is supporting the immediate response to this disaster. The FEMA staff of 84 specialists has redirected their efforts to this ongoing incident. Additional FEMA staff is being deployed from around the country to augment.
Damage assessments for Individual Assistance will take place next week. Teams comprised of SEMA, FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration specialists will fan out across the flooded counties. Local emergency officials will guide teams to all areas affected by flooding.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.