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Federal government approves Missouri’s flood disaster declaration request

First responders rescue residents of The Reserve at Winding Creek apartment complex from flooding on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Hazelwood.
Brian Munoz
/
St. Louis Public Radio
First responders rescue residents of The Reserve at Winding Creek apartment complex from flooding on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Hazelwood.

The Biden administration on Monday approved Missouri’s major disaster declaration request, unlocking federal aid for the St. Louis area after historic flash flooding caused massive damage.

The federal approval means that residents affected by flooding now have access to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance program. The program can help in the form of temporary housing, housing repairs, the replacement of damaged belongings, including vehicles, and other aid.

Gov. Mike Parson requested the assistance Thursday.

“I appreciate the president acting swiftly to get Missourians the assistance they need. We will continue to work closely with our federal and local partners, along with the voluntary organizations that are already working hard to help,” Parson said.

Those affected by the flooding July 25-28 in St. Louis and St. Louis and St. Charles counties can apply through FEMA’s website or through the agency’s phone line: 1-800-621-3362. Documenting damages through photographs and retaining receipts is encouraged by authorities.

The typical deadline for most individual assistance programs is 60 days after the president’s disaster declaration, so residents may only have until Oct. 7 to register for aid.

That help could fall into the categories of housing assistance, grants, low-interest loans and other programs.

Additionally, St. Louis and St. Louis, St. Charles and Montgomery counties are eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. That gives local governments and qualified nonprofit agencies the ability to get federal reimbursement for emergency response and recovery costs.

U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis County, who spent days in the St. Louis area after the flooding trying to help residents and urging the state to move quickly on requesting federal aid, applauded the decision from the Biden administration.

“This much-needed disaster declaration will open critical resources for community members across the St. Louis region who have had their livelihoods upended as a result of this climate disaster,” Bush said in a statement.

According to Parson’s office, the flooding damaged more than 750 homes and over 130 businesses, while totaling at least $35 million in uninsured property damage and emergency response costs.

Flash flooding in the region could happen again soon, with forecasts from the National Weather service indicating a flash flood threat for Monday evening.

Follow Sarah Kellogg on Twitter: @sarahkkellogg

Copyright 2022 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Sarah Kellogg is a first year graduate student at the University of Missouri studying public affairs reporting. She spent her undergraduate days as a radio/television major and reported for KBIA. In addition to reporting shifts, Sarah also hosted KBIA’s weekly education show Exam, was an afternoon newscaster and worked on the True/False podcast. Growing up, Sarah listened to episodes of Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! with her parents during long car rides. It’s safe to say she was destined to end up in public radio.