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:
Key Recovery Missions
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.