May 23, 2002

May Storms Have Region Being Considered For Disaster Aid

Rep. Sam Berkowitz, D-Memphis, says efforts are underway to assess flood damage in the counties of Northeast Missouri.

"On Monday, I talked personally to State Agriculture Department Director Lowell Mohler and State Emergency Management Agency Director Jerry Uhlmann about the situation in northeast Missouri," said Rep. Berkowitz. "Flash flooding in this district has effected homeowners, farmers and other small businessmen. We want to be sure the process is started to get these people some help when it becomes available."

Portions of Rep. Berkowitz's district received more than six inches of rain in less than 24 hours over the weekend. In Canton, storm water inundated several basements in residential homes. In Edina, waters from the South Fabius River flooded the business district, doing heavy damage to the Farm and Home Store. The waters also closed and caused damage to roads such as Highway 6 and 15, which were closed for a short time. Some rural roads remain closed as creeks creep back inside their banks.

A spokesperson at the State Emergency Management Agency says officials there are monitoring reports and putting the information into reports that will be forwarded onto the Governor. Likewise a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture says her department is also preparing reports for Governor Holden. Holden's office could then ask the federal government for a disaster declaration that would open the door for victims to qualify for grants and low interest loans to recover from the effects of the flooding.

"I've had old-timers in the area tell me they've never seen the water come up so fast. It caught everyone by surprise," said Rep. Berkowitz. "There are people in the First District who suffered heavy losses, and we are doing all we can to make sure those people are taken care of."

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