February 28, 2002

Scotland County Added To Presidential Disaster Declaration

While a majority of Scotland County was covered by as much as 10 inches of snow, it was a blessing compared to the ice storms that occurred just south of the region on February 7. Less than 60 miles away the communities of Clarence and Macon were without electricity for days because of downed power lines.

Still Scotland County sustained enough storm related damage that it was among 10 more Missouri counties added to the Presidential disaster declaration for Individual Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The federal aid is being made available to help residents and local governments recover from the effects of the ice storm.

In addition to Scotland County the nine other counties added to the FEMA aid list were Barton, Cedar, Clark, Davies, DeKalb, Knox, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. These regions are now eligible to apply for grants to help pay for temporary lodging needs, minor home repairs, and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully covered by insurance.

Knox County and Lewis County were also extended coverage under the FEMA Public Assistance program. However, Scotland County was not included in the second list. That would have allowed government entities and certain private non-profit organizations eligibility for federal funding to pay 75-percent of the approved costs for debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, buildings and utilities.

The additions to the two FEMA lists were made following a request by Missouri Governor Bob Holden after state agencies had gathered and reviewed damage data.

"We remain committed to ensuring that every qualified family and business receives the help they need and that vital community facilities are restored to full service as quickly as possible," said FEMA director Joe Allbaugh.

As of February 19, 11,292 Missourians, or an average of nearly 1,000 per day, had called for federal/state assistance, which has resulted in more than $1.4 million be approved for the process.

A majority of the aid provided has been reimbursement for housing expenses experienced by families forced to leave their homes because of power outages creating heat loss.

A total of 43 Missouri counties are now eligible to apply for a wide range of state and federal disaster assistance programs under the major disaster declaration issued by President Bush on February 6. The proclamation was made following the initial string of winter storms that began to plague Missouri and Kansas on January 29.

The only way to apply for the assistance is by calling the toll-free registration number, 1-800-621-FEMA.

In addition to the FEMA aid the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced February 21 that individuals working in these same 10 additional counties who are unemployed due to the recent severe winter ice storm may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance.

Claims by individuals in these counties should be filed as soon as possible, but not later than March 25, 2002.

Disaster unemployment assistance is intended for individuals who are not eligible for benefits under a state's regular unemployment insurance program. Farmers or other self-employed individuals and individuals who are denied regular unemployment insurance benefits may now be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance.

Other counties previously included are Adair, Audrain, Bates, Benton, Boone, Buchanan, Caldwell, Carroll, Cass, Chariton, Clay, Clinton, Cooper, Grundy, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Monroe, Morgan, Pettis, Platte, Randolph, Ray, Saline, Shelby, St. Clair, Sullivan and Vernon counties. Individuals in these counties should file a claim no later than March 11, 2002.

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