COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Six months after the May 22 EF-5 tornado destroyed a large section of the city of Joplin, Jasper and Newton counties have received an estimated $174 million in federal assistance provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through various programs, according to federal recovery officials.
Within 24 hours of the tornado, FEMA senior leadership and regional staff arrived in Joplin to assist with response and recovery operations. FEMA continues to have a strong presence in Joplin.
FEMA has completed 42 mission assignments to various federal agencies for response and recovery operations for an estimated $149 million. Some mission assignments include Environmental Protection Agency air quality monitoring, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service technical assistance for the animal sheltering operations, Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps volunteer management and donations management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expedited debris removal, construction of temporary housing group sites and temporary facilities for schools, fire department and the hospital.
Four task forces were created to address debris removal, housing, critical facilities (destroyed fire stations and the hospital) and schools. Task force members include local officials, voluntary organizations, the state of Missouri and federal stakeholders focused on restoring facilities and services as quickly as possible.
- Debris Task Force: The President approved an Expedited Debris Removal operation to clear loose tornado debris from public rights-of-way and residential property in the hardest-hit areas for 90 percent federal cost share until August 7, 2011. Governor Nixon appointed the Missouri National Guard to provide state oversight and coordination. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed the Expedited Debris Removal operation. More than 1.2 million cubic yards of debris were removed from rights of way and 1,505 residential properties. The EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources disposed of 103,707 items requiring special disposal such as household hazardous waste, white goods, electronic waste and small motorized equipment in the EDR area. Another 303,425 cubic yards of debris were removed from public properties outside the EDR area.
- The Housing Task Force focused on identifying rental properties within a reasonable commute of Joplin. It quickly became apparent that temporary housing units and community group sites would be required to help solve housing for displaced families. The task force continues to work on affordable housing solutions, including finding ways to help households purchase homes in Joplin.
- The Critical Facilities Task Force focused on building temporary modular facilities to replace two fire stations and nine temporary facilities including a mobile hospital for St. John’s Mercy Hospital. The task force continues to work with St. John’s Mercy Hospital on temporary facilities. Public Assistance staff continues to work with the city on permanent projects.
- The Schools Task Force’s initial focus was reopening the Joplin public schools by Aug. 17. Under a mission assignment to USACE, FEMA paid for the installation of 129 modular classrooms—including special classrooms for chemistry, science, horticulture, music, art and an industrial laboratory, 67 safe rooms and support facilities including three full kitchens, dry goods storage and walk-in freezers. Five new athletic fields also were built to replace unusable facilities at Joplin High School. Public Assistance staff continues to work with the school district on permanent work, rebuilding and repair projects.
FEMA’s Individual and Households Program has two sub-programs – the housing program and the other needs assistance program. Currently, $20.2 million has been ...