Craig residents search for answers after being denied FEMA assistance

FEMA in Northwest Missouri has been offering assistance to 13 counties impacted by spring flooding. However, some said they aren't getting help.

Posted: Jul 16, 2019 6:51 PM
Updated: Jul 16, 2019 7:03 PM

(CRAIG, Mo.) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Northwest Missouri has been offering assistance to 13 counties impacted by spring flooding. However, some said they aren't getting help.

Locals in Craig, Missouri were hit by record flooding on March 20th. A separate weather event occurred over a month later around April 29th, which prompted the state to request a Major Disaster Declaration. 

FEMA accepted the declaration for the April 29th weather event, but not for the one on March 20th. While the city of Craig issued an evacuation for both, some residents say only flooding from the first event (March 20) impacted the town and left a wake of severe damage.

"Craig has been in the news from the beginning of all this and it shocks me that we're not getting the relief that we deserve," Missy Foster, Craig City Clerk, said. "You know, everybody's been devastated. The entire town's been taken out."

The agency did send relief funds to the city of Craig, but now the residents are looking to get individual assistance.

FEMA issued a statement to KQ2 saying although the people of Craig wouldn't qualify for assistance if their damage occurred before April 29th, they can still register with the agency.

People with damage and serious needs may register for assistance by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or online by clicking here.

The statement goes on to say:

"When registering, homeowners and renters should provide the date of their most recently sustained damage that occurred from April 29 through July 5. If the most recently sustained damage is prior to April 29, that is out of the incident period and they would not be eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance grants."

Locals said the damage they need coverage for all happened during the flooding on March 20th. Foster said the city has already lost 35 households out of 90 due to relocation following the flooding, leaving only 55 households left.

"The 55 that are here have no assistance to rebuild," Foster said. "Most of those didn't have flood insurance so they were counting on FEMA to help. Right now, we're just waiting to see what happens, and hoping and praying that FEMA changes the dates."

FEMA, meanwhile, also clarified that their assistance program by law only allows them to cover serious damage not covered by flood insurance, and only provides a helping hand.

FEMA writes in the statement:

"So far, members of four dozen Holt County households been approved for FEMA Individual Assistance grants, and a total of about $179,000 in grants have been provided directly to these households for temporary rental assistance, basic home repairs and other needs not covered by insurance."

The statement does not clarify which cities in Holt County these grants have gone to. 

Those who live in Craig said they're still picking up the pieces after the flooding and are in desperate need of relief. One resident, Kevin Wilson, said his family home of almost 30 years might be beyond repair.

"It's just sad...just because it was home. Makes you just want to sit down and cry, but it wouldn't do any good," Wilson said. "I mean, it's just like losing a best friend."

Another local, Jim McCallen, said all that was left of his home was a floor and a frame.

"We've lost wedding pictures in this flood, we've lost - [my wife] has lost her high school yearbooks. Memories, there's a lot of people in town that have lost memories," McCallen said. "We couldn't even get photos out because there was no time."

All three residents KQ2 spoke with in Craig on Tuesday said they have written letters to Missouri Senators asking for the dates of FEMA assistance to include damage done in March. 

FEMA said if they receive the request, it will be looked at and considered. In the statement, the agency provided clarification for how they review a state’s request for a major disaster declaration Individual Assistance:

"FEMA reviews insurance coverage in the affected area and the capabilities of state and locally-based charitable, non-profit and faith-based organizations that may be able to provide assistance."

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