Columbia, Mo – To help individuals affected by the recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has teams in the designated counties meeting with disaster survivors to tell them about the types of disaster assistance that may be available to help with their recovery.
FEMA has more than 76 Community Relations specialists on the ground in all 21 of the federally designated Missouri counties, including the City of Joplin, Missouri where survivors and local officials continue to make strides toward recovery and rebuilding the tornado-ravished community. These FEMA specialists are wearing the familiar blue FEMA shirt, going door-to-door in affected neighborhoods. Their goal is to reach out to as many disaster survivors as possible, providing information about available federal assistance.
"Having our men and women actively canvass affected communities is a critical component of FEMA's disaster recovery strategy," says Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner "Working directly in these communities helps us provide needed assistance in a very timely and efficient manner, and allows us to better look after the elderly, individuals with functional or special needs, and those with unmet needs.”
As they visit homes, businesses and churches in the counties designated for assistance, teams are educating people about federal assistance programs and are answering questions about the assistance process. Renters and homeowners may apply for grants for rental assistance, basic home repairs and other serious disaster-related needs. Other needs may include medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster.
To date, FEMA’s Community Relations team members have moved across Missouri, distributing thousands of disaster assistance registration flyers, meeting with scores of community, business, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, providing critical information to community leaders and public officials as they serve their constituents, and have visited hundreds of impacted homes and businesses.
Spreading the Word: Assistance is Available
Thousands of brochures regarding tele-registration, FEMA’s "Help After a Disaster," and a variety of resource fact sheets on safe clean-up practices, crisis counseling and local, state and non-profit resources currently available have also been distributed. This information has been provided in both English and Spanish, as well as to those with functional needs and physical impairments.
These robust, grass-roots efforts have been effective in providing survivors with disaster assistance and registration information, as more than 10,000 Missourians have registered for assistance to date.
FEMA also encourages survivors to remember the convenience and ease-of-access the Internet provides in terms of getting disaster assistance information.
FEMA has established website dedicated to this disaster (www.fema.gov/news/event.fema?id=14395), and a Twitter account (www.twitter.com/femaregion7) that provides up-to-the-minute disaster recovery information. Information about registering for federal assistance has also been sent to several community, civic, and business websites, as well as other high-traffic venues, resulting in thousands of views to date.
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are another component of FEMA's outreach efforts. Currently, there are 7 DRCs operating across the state, staffed with FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration and state agency disaster recovery specialists who are ready to help guide survivors through the recovery process. Survivors may get the location of the DCR closest to their home or business when they register for assistance or by visiting: