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Northeast Missouri counties added to federal disaster declaration

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that northeast Missouri homeowners and renters could qualify for disaster assistance through FEMA’s individual assistance program. However northeast Missouri counties only qualify public assistance.

If you don’t live along the Mississippi River, it might be out of sight out of mind when it comes to the damage left behind from this year’s historic flooding.

Several northeast Missouri counties in our viewing area were added to a federal disaster declaration.

That opens up funding for government entities impacted by the flooding.

“I had basically 20 inches of water and you can see the stain here,” said La Grange, Missouri, resident Daniel Rhew.

It’s emotional for Rhew to look at the damage this year’s flood caused.

“I lost all of my living room furniture. I had a couch and matching chair and three lazyboy’s and two recliner rockers,” said Rhew.

Rhew said he doesn’t have flood insurance because he couldn’t afford both it and his medication.

“It’s a heaven and hell situation. I intended on having the flood insurance and I would have been okay had that been effect but that’s the way it goes.”

Now, he’s left to clean up the damage on his own but he has had some help. A disaster relief group tore out all of the drywall the flood ruined, but he said they haven’t come back to spray for mold which continues to spread.

“They brought a team and they were rearing to go but all they do is tear out stuff,” said Rhew.

Plus Rhew hopes FEMA gets added to the individual assistance list, now that the county qualified for public assistance.

Rhew said someone with the city and FEMA have already taken a look at his home so now he’s left to wait to see if he’ll ever get money.

“People tell me FEMA is pretty slow but my application is already done with them so it might not be any longer than what is necessary,” said Rhew.

Rhew said he has every intention on staying in La Grange, but help could he hard to come by.

FEMA officials state public assistance funds go to government entities, while individual assistance opens up possible help for homeowners and renters. Northeast Missouri only qualifies for public assistance, meaning residents will have to pick up their own tab.

Canton Missouri’s mayor, Jarrod Phillips, said the declaration will help them recover from over $200,000 worth of flood costs.

He said any funds they receive from FEMA would go towards repairing their levee and removing sandbags.

“The city just paid tens of thousands of dollars to clear out a diversion channel that runs on the north side of the levee which is now silted in again and then some of the damage to our riverfront park with the electrical there. Some of the road was damaged so we’re looking to apply for some reimbursements for that,” said Phillips.

Phillips said these reimbursements take a long time and he doesn’t expect some payments to come through for a couple of years.


Brett Knese

Multi-Media Journalist at WGEM News.

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