Gov. Matt Blunt today sent a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff urging him to reconsider the decision of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deny Public Assistance in response to the tornadoes that ravaged Barry, Jasper and Newton Counties on May 10, 2008.
Gov. Blunt is particularly concerned that Missouri・s initial request, and subsequent appeal, were denied solely because Missouri did not meet the FEMA per capita indicator. The Stafford Act prohibits the federal government from denying assistance based upon an arithmetic formula or sliding scale of income or population, yet the per capita indicator was the only area in which this disaster did not meet FEMA・s pre-established disaster consideration factors.
"Residents of these small communities want to rebuild and start anew. Having observed and discussed the effects of these tornadoes, I know you appreciate the enormity of the task at hand. For this reason I ask that you ensure that our initial public assistance request and our appeal were given appropriate consideration, beyond just the state per capita indicator," Gov. Blunt wrote in the letter. "Your leadership and spirit of cooperation have been very beneficial to the state of Missouri. In seeking to ensure that every possible recovery resource is examined and exhausted to facilitate recovery, I ask that you re-examine our public assistance request to make available much needed recovery resources."
The May 10th tornadoes caused 16 deaths and more than 200 storm related injuries, in addition to leaving 9,000 customers without power in Barry, Jasper and Newton Counties. The damage assessments were completed on May 15th. The Joint Preliminary Damage Assessments included inspections of more than 550 damaged primary residences in the three counties. One hundred and fifty-four homes were destroyed and 58 homes had major damage. The teams also identified $6.2 million in costs to public infrastructure.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Governor asks Chertoff to reconsider denial of disaster relief funds to Newton County
Gov. Matt Blunt has asked Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff to reconsider his recent decision to deny disaster funds to Newton and Barry counties following the May 10 tornado. According to a news release from the governor's office: