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Governor requests federal disaster assistance for 19 counties, including Laclede County

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Governor Mike Parson has requested that President Trump approve a major disaster declaration for Missouri to provide federal assistance to a total of 19 counties in response to severe storms and tornadoes that swept across the state on May 4, resulting in widespread destruction.

Laclede County Office of Emergency Management Director Randy Rowe said the City of Lebanon had the most damage resulting from the storms in the state. 

The City of Lebanon estimated costs to fix all the damage at more than $1 million.

“We anticipate total recovery costs to be in the range of $1.4 million give or take. Service has been restored around Lebanon but repairs continue,” Lebanon Communications Manager Derek Gean said.

Rowe said the city staff had done an exceptional job compiling the damage figures.

The joint Preliminary Damage Assessments, conducted by the State Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local officials, had already estimated more than $9.3 million in damage to infrastructure and emergency response costs eligible for federal assistance. The damage assessments were conducted virtually due to COVID-19.

Rowe said the county damage totals had to be at least $9 million and barely met the threshold.

“It just barely broke over $9 million so this was very important to get the numbers correct and accurate and get the job done ASAP,” Rowe said. “The Governor’s Office needed the information in the first one week to two weeks and we had it two days early thanks to the accounting department of the City of Lebanon.” 

The county also had some damage and the Joel E, Barber School District, which reported more than $1 million in damage. 

Rowe said those entities worked with the city to get numbers to the state.

“They got those numbers to the state immediately, were able to back those numbers up with good, hard figures and that’s why this disaster will be declared for the State of Missouri and we will receive money from the government,” Rowe said.

Parson said, in a statement last week, that he believes the state will receive assistance. 

“Our local, state, and federal assessment teams have documented extensive damage to electric power systems and other public infrastructure as a result of the severe storms,” Governor Parson said. “Our Missouri communities are already strapped by emergency response costs because of COVID-19. I am confident federal assistance will be forthcoming.”

Governor Parson is requesting Public Assistance for Bates, Butler, Carter, Dallas, Douglas, Dunklin, Henry, Hickory, Howell, Laclede, New Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Polk, Ripley, Shannon, Stoddard, Wayne, and Wright counties.

If approved, local governments and qualifying nonprofit agencies may seek federal assistance for reimbursement of emergency response and recovery costs, including repair and replacement costs for damaged buildings, bridges, roads, and other public infrastructure.

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