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Midwest Storms: Overview of Federal Family's Support For States' Response Efforts


Editor's Note: We added to Monday's activities and added a photo of President Obama.

The administration, through FEMA, is committed to bringing all of the resources of the federal family to bear to support Missouri and the other states devastated by the deadly tornadoes and storms this weekend. FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo. and Chicago, Ill., has been in close contact and coordination with the states since the storms first struck, and has already deployed staff and resources to the impacted areas in Missouri to help with response needs.

Both President Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano have called Governor Nixon to express their condolences and offer the full support of the administration, and at their direction, FEMA Administrator Fugate will travel to Missouri to ensure the state has what they need as response efforts continue.  The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support the impacted states, families and communities.

And as an additional note, as part of the federal government’s National Level Exercise 2011 last week, which simulated a catastrophic earthquake hitting Missouri and other states in the central U.S. Administrator Fugate spent time in Missouri with state and local officials, including Governor Nixon. Missouri was one of several states that participated in the exercise, along with federal agencies, the private sector and other organizations.

Monday, May 23

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calls Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to express her condolences for the lives lost and communities devastated by the storms. Secretary Napolitano offers the full support of FEMA and the federal family.
  • President Obama calls Governor Nixon to express that the entire administration stands behind Missouri and stands ready to support the state, as needed. President Obama announces that at his direction, FEMA Administrator Fugate will travel to Missouri to ensure the state has all the support needed as response efforts continue.
  • FEMA activates its Regional Response Coordination Center in Kansas City to Level II, which means that they are operating 24 hour schedule with the activation of select emergency support functions needed to support state operations. 
  • FEMA Regional Administrator Beth Freeman traveled to Joplin, Missouri from the regional office in Kansas City to coordinate response and recovery efforts with state and local officials. 
  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino travels to Joplin, Missouri, where he will meet with state and local officials and tour the disaster affected area.  
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate travels to Joplin, Missouri, to meet with state and local officials and ensure they have what they need as response operations continue.
  • Administrator Fugate approves the addition of the two counties impacted by the tornadoes in Missouri, Jasper and Newton counties, for individual assistance and public assistance that includes debris removal and emergency protective measures, as part of a current federal disaster declaration the state received for recent storms. This means tornado survivors in those counties can begin applying for federal disaster aid, either by phone, online, or on their mobile phones. To register, survivors can call (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585, apply online at or apply on their smartphones at
  • FEMA activates Emergency Support Function 3, which authorizes the federal family to provide technical advice and evaluation for debris removal to assist the state and local authorities in Missouri.
  • FEMA activates Emergency Support Function 10, which authorizes the federal government to provide support to the state for responding to actual or potential discharges of hazardous materials.

Sunday, May 22 

  • A multi vortex tornado touches down in (Jasper County), Missouri.  Local reports indicate 2,000 structures were destroyed, including residences, businesses, schools, apartment complexes and churches. St. John’s Regional Medical Center was badly damaged and patients are being evacuated.
  • FEMA’s regional office in Kansas City, begins constant coordination and communications with Missouri’s emergency management team and local officials.
  • Missouri Governor Nixon declares a state of emergency for affected counties.
  • FEMA places personnel from the Kansas City regional office on alert and deploys staff to the Missouri Emergency Operations Center.  Missouri residents are urged to continue to listen to instructions from their local leaders on protecting life and property as response efforts continue.
  • In anticipation of requests, FEMA deploys an Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) to Joplin to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response and recovery.
  • FEMA dispatches a Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) Team, including an Emergency Operations Vehicle, to Missouri to provide self-sustaining telecommunications, logistics, and operations support elements.
  • FEMA has commodities staged at locations throughout the state and throughout the country to supplement supplies of the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and other voluntary agencies should their resources become depleted.
  • FEMA activates Emergency Support Function 8, which authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate hospital medical needs and patient evacuations, in support of the state, if necessary.
  • President Obama issues a statement on the tornado in Missouri and the severe storms across the Midwest, expressing condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and directing FEMA to work with the affected areas' state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts.

Saturday, May 21

  • A series of tornadoes touches down in the town of Reading, Kansas. FEMA, through its regional office in Kansas City, begins constant contact with the state’s emergency management team. 
Last Updated: 
07/10/2012 - 15:44

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