Gov. Bob Holden has announced that the State of Missouri’s “Standard” State Hazard Mitigation Plan which was approved on May 21, 2004, has now been determined to meet the requirements of an “Enhanced” State Hazard Mitigation Plan by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“This means that the amount of non-emergency federal assistance that the State of Missouri is eligible to receive under the Stafford Act has just improved dramatically,” Holden said.
Missouri was the first of the 50 states to receive the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) approval of a “Standard” State Hazard Mitigation Plan. This latest formal watershed announcement came from FEMA Region VII Director Dick Hainje, who indicated that Missouri’s “Enhanced” State Hazard Mitigation Plan also had undergone FEMA’s crucial examination and had earned approval effective Friday, July 2, 2004.
The “Enhanced” Plan approval significantly increases the amount of federal mitigation funding that will be available for future disasters.
Upon hearing the news, SEMA Director Jerry Uhlmann said, “I am very pleased that Missouri’s Enhanced State Mitigation Hazard Plan has been approved. Missouri will now be eligible to receive a 20 percent multiplier for future mitigation projects within the state. By comparison, if the widespread tornado damage that happened in May 2003 were to occur today, the mitigation funding would be $5.3 million instead of only the $2.0 million that was available using the old 7.5 percent base. This really is great news for Missouri’s communities.”
The “Standard” Plan approval was reportedly a notable achievement because it guaranteed that the State of Missouri would continue to be eligible after Nov. 1, 2004, to receive the full range of federal assistance funding provided by the Stafford Act.
Federal mitigation funding includes FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, and Pre-Disaster Mitigation – Competitive Program.
For example, these federally funded programs have been vital to Missouri’s efforts to acquire more than 4,500 flood-damaged homes since 1993; to replace Prospect Bridge and redirect the creek channel on Woodland Avenue in Kansas City after seven people died in the 1998 flooding there; and to fund the pending construction of community tornado saferooms in Pierce City and Stockton following the May 2003 tornadoes in those stricken communities. In addition, the approval also continued Missouri’s eligibility to receive all categories of public assistance.
Federal funds from these programs are being applied to public assistance projects such as the city hall, armory, police station, community center and others in Pierce City, Stockton, Carl Junction and other locations.
Without approval of a “Standard” State Hazard Mitigation Plan, only emergency public and individual assistance would have been available beyond the Nov. 1, 2004 cutoff date.
Likewise, by Nov. 1, 2004, all local governments are still required to develop and obtain FEMA’s approval of a local hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible for Federal mitigation funding. SEMA has been working for over a year with the 19 Regional Planning Commissions located throughout the state and local jurisdictions to develop local mitigation plans covering 96 counties and the communities incorporated within those counties.
Many of these plans are reportedly nearing completion and the remaining plans currently under development should be completed by next summer. Once additional HMGP funding becomes available, SEMA hopes to assist the remaining 18 counties develop plans.
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