Missouri Seeks Major Disaster Aid

February 10, 2009

Gov. Jay Nixon has asked President Barack Obama to declare 22 Missouri counties as major disaster areas, a move aimed at speeding recovery for regions hit hard by last week’s ice storm.

The request also seeks a waiver of some or all of the 25 percent match that state and local governments normally have to pay for disaster funding.

Damage in Missouri from the storm on Jan. 26-27 is estimated at $193 million. Eight deaths in the state have been blamed on the storm. Six died in accidents on slippery roads. A New Madrid County woman and her teenage daughter died of apparent carbon monoxide from a gas-powered generator in the garage.

Six shelters were housing 136 people, state officials said.

The storm dumped more than an inch of ice on parts of southern Missouri, snapping trees and downing power lines and substations. At one point, more than 100,000 homes and businesses were without power.

By last Friday afternoon, the outage number was down to 13,325, but some still faced up to two weeks before power was restored. Missouri State Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Susie Stonner cited more than 7,000 outages in Pemiscot and Dunklin counties, 3,700 around Sikeston, 2,500 at Poplar Bluff and 125 in Howell and Oregon counties.

More than 1,000 linemen are working to get things fixed.

“We still have thousands and thousands and thousands of poles on the ground,” Nixon said. “We still face significant challenges.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to get these communities to recover,” the governor said.

Three multi-agency resource centers were established in southeast Missouri to offer storm-impacted residents with a one-stop location for resources and referrals. The centers will be operated by the Salvation Army Feb. 10-12 at the Clinton Building in Sikeston, VFW Post 5443 in Kennett and Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff.

Nixon’s request seeks a major disaster declaration for the following counties: Barry, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Howell, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, Shannon, Stoddard, Stone, Taney and Wayne.

Damage assessments will begin next week to support a disaster declaration for individuals and businesses impacted by the storm and power outages, Nixon’s office said.

Nixon signed an executive order waiving some restrictions related to debris disposal, open burning and wastewater through March 31. Also, the Missouri Department of Revenue is waiving late fees for people in many southeast Missouri communities who were unable to reach their local license office because of the ice storm.


AP reporter Lee Logan in Jefferson City provided information for this article.


On the Net:

State Emergency Management Agency: http://sema.dps.mo.gov/

Missouri Electric Cooperatives:

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