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Two months after the tornado - the FEMA numbers - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Two months after the tornado - the FEMA numbers

Updated:

News release issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Two months after the devastating EF-5 tornado ripped through the peaceful city of Joplin, disaster recovery efforts remain in full swing. State and federal disaster assistance has increased $26 million this month, totaling over $41 million for residents and businesses in the counties of Jasper and Newton.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is only part of a large team that continues to bring resources to assist a community in its response and recovery efforts. This team includes coordinated efforts between federal, state, local, non-profit, private sector and faith-based organizations.

"It takes many agencies, government and private, as well as many individuals, to help a community and its citizens recover from a disaster," said Federal Coordinating Officer Libby Turner. " Missourians have demonstrated from day one that they are ready to do whatever it takes to help one another not only survive the Joplin tornado but to thrive over the long run."

As of today, 60 days after the Joplin tornado disaster, more than 690 federal and state employees from across the country are working to meet the needs of more than 10,200 Jasper and Newton disaster survivors who have registered for assistance.  This number is expected to increase before the July 29, 2011 registration deadline. Additionally, federal and state specialists continue to provide assistance to local governmental entities that suffered extensive damages to their infrastructure facilities.

A critical recovery mission, the removal of debris, continues in full force through the close collaboration between local, state and federal agencies. During the 46 days of debris removal operations managed by the court engineers, nearly 1.3 million cubic yards-68 percent-of debris has been removed from the Joplin area, at an average rate of 27,684 cubic yards per day. This number does not include debris removal by private contractors, individual property owners and volunteers. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has collected more than 95,000 items of household hazardous waste, white goods and electronic equipment from the Joplin tornado debris.

Over the course of the week following the May 22 disaster, a multitude of volunteer resources, agencies and personnel sprung into action. Together with local and community officials, the city of Joplin, the state of Missouri, the Missouri Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), the Governor's Faith-based and Community Service Partnership for Disaster Recovery and FEMA continues to work to coordinate the assembly and movement of critical emergency supplies, medical aid and disaster relief. 

Volunteer efforts have included the opening and operation of two shelters managed by the American Red Cross and a Volunteer Reception Center managed by members of AmeriCorps, which has processed more than 45,000 volunteers. In just two month's time, volunteers have worked more than 301,000 hours. Disaster recovery volunteers have also included players, coaches and staff from the NFL St. Louis Rams, who helped with cleanup efforts in Joplin. The team also recorded public service announcements with FEMA to promote community preparedness and encourage survivors to apply for disaster assistance at 1-800-621-FEMA.

Another community partner, the Missouri Humane Society, helped create and run a shelter that allowed survivors to identify their pets and provided accommodations for the pets whose owners had no place to keep them. To date, more than 500 pets have been reunited with their human companions, thanks to the efforts of the Joplin Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). These two organizations sheltered more than 1,300 animals through June 25-26, 2011, when a two-day adopt-a-thon was held; 739 adoptions were made during the fee-waived event.

Federal, state and local officials have also teamed up with the Independent Living Center and other disability organizations to serve as a resource for individuals with disabilities, access and other functional needs.  Through focused disability integration efforts in Missouri, FEMA continues to take steps to ensure the whole community - including people with functional needs, seniors and those with low English proficiency - has the same opportunity to benefit from disaster assistance programs.

Currently 116 families who applied for FEMA assistance occupy HUD-approved manufactured housing units in nine different commercial mobile home parks in the Joplin area. In addition, FEMA assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to oversee construction of two new temporary housing sites in Joplin: Hope Haven Village and Officer Jeff Taylor Memorial Acres. Since the first week in July construction of the two mobile home villages has continued 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Both sites will have storm shelters located throughout the parks to meet the needs of the population. The two mobile home villages are being built in phases in order that families can begin moving in as phases are completed; the first phase should open by July 28.

Joplin fire stations number two and number four were both destroyed by the May tornado. Under FEMA's Public Assistance program temporary modular units for both fire stations were completed and occupied by July 4.

Federal, state and local efforts continue to work to complete temporary accommodations for eight different schools.  Structures will accommodate approximately 3,200 returning students and are scheduled to be completed before the start of fall semester, August 17, 2011.  FEMA has assigned the USACE to supply the modular units and safe rooms meeting FEMA 361 specifications. Modular units will be painted in school colors in an effort to keep spirits high.  Public Assistance specialists continue to work with school officials on plans for rebuilding permanent school facilities.

As recovery efforts continue, the following summary outlines the progress that has been made over the first 60 days following the Joplin tornado disaster:

Mitigation efforts:

  • 623 visits to mitigation advisors in Disaster Recovery Centers
  • 615 visits to mitigation advisors in home improvements centers and community outreach events such as fairs or meetings
  • 2 mitigation advisors are assisting the residents of Joplin in rebuilding efforts
  • Individual Assistance: $17 million in federal assistance approved for Jasper and Newton counties
  • $6.5 million in Housing Assistance, which includes rental and home repair assistance, and
  • $10.3 million in Other Needs Assistance, which may include losses and damage to personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving expenses and other disaster-related costs
  • 10,288 disaster survivors registered with FEMA for Individual Assistance
  • US Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance: More than $24.6 million in disaster loans approved by the SBA for the Joplin area; $19.1 million to help pay for residential and personal property losses and almost $5.5 million to help pay for business losses. SBA application deadline is July 29 and survivors requiring assistance are encouraged to apply. 
  • 38 Recovery Missions assigned to 17 Federal agencies with anticipated costs of $262 million. FEMA is only part of a large team that can bring resources to assist a community in its response and recovery efforts. These mission assigned agencies, including the USACE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Energy, General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a number of others are able to take on a variety of projects that will supplement state and local efforts to assist communities in Jasper and Newton Counties move forward.

Key Recovery Missions

  • 1,273,471 cubic yards of debris removed by the USACE, not including debris removed by other entities
  • EPA continues removal of "white goods" or major appliances such as refrigerators, and electrical goods, collecting more than 95,000 containers of household hazardous waste from Joplin.
  • Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has directed the Missouri National Guard to provide state oversight and coordination for the state and federal disaster response.  This includes heading a multi-agency, intergovernmental debris task force that meets daily to coordinate and manage operational debris issues and messaging.  This task force includes reps from the city of Joplin, city of Duquesne, Jasper County, Missouri National Guard, FEMA, USACE, EPA, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation and certain private-sector partners (tires pickup).
  • The Missouri Department of Conservation has been surveying tornado-damaged trees throughout the Expedited Debris Removal (EDR) area at private residential properties and on public property, including parks and public rights-of-way, to determine which ones have been so damaged that they need to be removed to protect the public health and safety.
  • FEMA/USACE teams continue to work with city and school officials to identify and design critical facilities for schools, St. John's Hospital and first responder entities.
  • More than 20 Community Organizations actively involved in the Joplin Long Term Recovery Group. This collective group of non-profit, private sector, faith-based, social service and civic organizations are working collaboratively to discuss and establish plans to meet the needs left behind in the recovery period following the disaster.
  • Seven FEMA Community Relations (CR) teams consisting of 61 CR Specialists have visited thousands of disaster survivors and have distributed thousands of flyers following the wake of the Joplin tornado disaster.
  • Two Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) were opened in Joplin the first week after the tornado to provide assistance to those affected by recent severe storms, floods and tornadoes. To date, the two centers have hosted 5,892 visitors. At the close of business Saturday, July 23, the DRCs will consolidate into one center at Missouri Southern State University. The DRCs are staffed by representatives from FEMA and the SBA to provide assistance and information to disaster survivors.

Missouri disaster survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA if they haven't done so already. The last day to register with FEMA for federal disaster aid is July 29, 2011.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech disability or hearing loss, who use a TTY, should call 800-462-7585; or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 800-621-3362.

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