JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Winter storms, ice, flooding, and tornadoes made 2008 a year like few others in Missouri.
Beginning with the December 2007 ice storms, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinated recovery efforts for seven separate disasters that hit the state last year. More than $181 million in disaster assistance was provided to individuals, businesses and qualifying nonprofit organizations, and to state and local governments.
“Missourians were particularly hard-hit last year,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Hall, who directed the Missouri recovery efforts from September 2008 through the end of operations. “Nearly every county, at one time in 2008, was part of a presidential disaster declaration.”
Only Clay, Jackson, Lafayette, and Henry counties in the west-central portion of the state were unscathed by disasters in 2008. Most counties had multiple declarations throughout the year.
“It was a year like few others that anyone can recall,” said Hall. “Severe winter storms, ice, flooding, and tornadoes – Missouri saw it all in 2008.”
Federal disaster declarations followed these incidents:
- Severe winter storms, Dec. 6-15, 2007
- Severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, Jan. 7 - 10
- Severe winter storms and flooding, Feb. 10 - 14
- Severe storms and flooding, March 17 – May 9
- Severe storms and tornadoes, May 10 -11
- Severe storms and flooding, June 1 - Aug. 13.
- Severe storms, flooding, and a tornado, Sept. 11- 24.
Disaster declarations define the types of assistance made available by the federal government. Those declarations may be for Individual Assistance (IA) for individuals and households, or Public Assistance (PA) for state and local governments and qualifying private nonprofits. Additionally, there are declarations that include both types of assistance.
Some statistics from the seven 2008 Missouri declarations:
- 12,809 individuals/households registered for individual assistance.
- More than $22.5 million was disbursed to help Missourians with temporary housing and home repairs. Another $4 million was for Other Needs Assistance, which helps fund the repair or replacement of personal property and disaster-related transportation, moving, medical, dental, and funeral expenses.
- More than $98,165 was disbursed for disaster related unemployment claims.
- More than $12.5 million was approved in loans to homeowners through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Another $9.5 million was approved in SBA loans to Missouri businesses.
- In the PA categories, there were 5,202 projects approved for more than $130 million. Under PA guidelines, FEMA picks up 75 percent of the cost and the remainder is paid for by the state and local government.
When it is cost effective and technically feasible, additional PA funding is approved through the Hazard Mitigation Program (HMP) to restore infrastructure to a higher standard, making it more disaster resistant.
During the 2008 Missouri disasters, there were 294 HM projects approved, totaling $1.3 million.
Not all Missouri PA projects or HMP project approvals resulting from the 2008 disasters are completed at this time; however, all funding has been obligated.
In addition to coordinating the recovery effort, FEMA employees, local hires and the agency’s subcontractors all contributed to the local economy. Over the course of the year, more than 1,400 persons were employed to assist those affected by disaster.
At the highest point, there were more than 500 employees assisting the recovery...