Missouri leaders ask for federal disaster declaration

Flooding along Interstate 55 Tuesday in Cape Girardeau. (Photo via DayLife/Scott Olson/Getty Images)

– Following destructive tornadoes in northeastern Missouri and flooding in southeastern Missouri, statewide elected officials are calling on President Barack Obama to offer the state a disaster declaration.

Governor Jay Nixon, D., made the request, which could help individuals and public agencies in 40 counties receive federal assistance.

“The last two to three weeks have seen large-scale destruction in Missouri, in terms of homes, businesses, farms and other property,” Nixon said. “Many families and businesses have suffered because of this severe weather. Counties, communities and the state also have been burdened with extremely high costs to protect citizens and property, and will have high expenses for repairing damage to infrastructure and public buildings.”

Missouri’s U.S. Senators, Roy Blunt, R., and Claire McCaskill, D., joined Nixon in his call, writing a letter to Obama Thursday.

“The severity and magnitude of this disaster, paired with the fact that Missouri has suffered several other natural disasters in the past year, has led the Governor to determine that an effective response to this event is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments,” the Senators wrote. “[I]t is our hope that you will grant Governor Nixon’s request promptly, to help the state and local governments help communities recover from this disaster.”

Nixon declared a state of emergency late last month, mobilizing the State Emergency Management Agency to assist in response.

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