JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- As the federal response to the January ice storm shifts from response to recovery, teams of federal, state, and local emergency managers are spreading out across the Bootheel region and southern Missouri to assess the damage.
These assessments, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are the first step in determining what types of federal assistance might be offered.? Missourians are cautioned to be wary of false claims or offers of disaster assistance, and of rumors that aid is forthcoming before a federal disaster declaration is made.
The emergency declaration announced by President Obama on January 30 authorized Direct Federal Assistance (DFA). This assistance to date has consisted of commodities and technical assistance provided to the state government for the purpose of protecting lives and supporting critical public infrastructure.
To date, the federal response has included:
- 298,000 liters of water.
- 4,500 blankets
- 2,250 cots, and
- 50 generators ranging in size from 17kw to 200kw, most in the 60 ? 150 kw range.
At the request of the state, joint Preliminary Damage Assessment teams are working in the affected areas. Each team has representatives from the state, FEMA and Small Business Administration. Local emergency managers are guiding them to the areas hardest hit by the storms.? The results will be used to determine if a major disaster declaration is warranted, and the types of additional assistance that may be made available.
There are a number of rumors regarding the potential for assistance that FEMA is trying to put to rest.? To address those rumors, these facts are provided:
- FEMA does not reimburse generator purchases
- FEMA is not providing debit cards for purchases of any sort, and
- FEMA is not reimbursing for items purchased to assist personal recovery efforts, i.e. power tools, homes supplies, etc., or for food spoiled by power outages.
- FEMA will not reimburse for debris removal from personal property.
A good description of FEMA programs is available at the agency Web site, www.fema.gov
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and man-made disasters.