ANDERSON, Mo. — In response to the recent flooding in McDonald County, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is opening a three-day Disaster Recovery Center in Anderson this week to anyone affected by the natural disaster.
The Disaster Recovery Center will be available to anyone affected by the summer flooding from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, today through Friday, at Anderson First Baptist Church, 1 Friendship Lane.
In early August, Gov. Mike Parson announced FEMA had approved the state's request to expand a federal major disaster declaration. The expansion added Newton and McDonald counties to the same disaster declaration made in July that included Jasper County. This gives residents in both counties the opportunity to apply for FEMA assistance until the deadline on Sept. 9.
Gregg Sweeten, McDonald County emergency management director, said flooding on June 23 killed at least one person and affected dozens of households and businesses.
Linda Kuykendall, 64, died during the flood after her home was swept off its foundation by heavy floodwaters. Her body was discovered nearly 4 miles away six days later.
“Roughly 50 to 60 homes were affected or destroyed,” said Sweeten. “Our two main areas of damages were to the homes surrounding Indian Creek and the homes near Beaver’s Branch. In Anderson on Beaver’s Branch, which is normally a fairly dry creek bed, we had several people reporting to us that there was a 10 foot wall of water traveling down that branch. This fits with the damage that was done. A house was swept away on Beaver’s Branch where a woman was killed.”
Sweeten estimated the flooding caused at least $400,000 in damages to roads and bridges. The damage to homes and businesses was at least several hundred thousand dollars, he said.
“Several businesses were wiped out,” he said. “There was one in Anderson that was a hair salon, and the whole back of the building is gone. Even though it was quick, it was a pretty dramatic flash flood.”
The Disaster Recovery Center, which is jointly operated by the state and the federal agencies, can provide one-on-one assistance to Missourians who were affected by the recent string of natural disasters.
“There have been registrations already going on, since we’ve been declared with individual assistance, but the Disaster Recovery Center gives them a face-to-face person with FEMA to talk to and answer questions,” said Sweeten.
FEMA recovery specialists and the U.S. Small Business Administration can provide information on available services, explain assistance programs and help survivors complete or check the status of their assistance applications.
“Anyone who needs special assistance, we’re set up to do that as well,” said Hattie Stallworth, FEMA’s media relations specialist. “They can call (800-621-3362) and do the 711 Video Relay Service. If they need an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter, we have a number that they can call to get those too.”
Residents from any county may visit any recovery center. Stallworth said visitors can bring their documentation and inquire about their application status, if they’ve already applied.
“It’s a great one-on-one, face-to-face service that we like to do so survivors will have the opportunity to have a good understanding about the process, how to register and what steps to take after you’ve registered," she said.