A representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a representative of the State Emergency Management Agency were in Pettis County on Tuesday to assess the damage throughout the county and city after the recent heavy rains and flooding.
Amanda Arroyo, project specialist from FEMA, and Karen Cassmeyer, public assistance coordinator of SEMA, met with representatives from the county and city early Tuesday morning in a preliminary damage assessment meeting.
“What we’re here to look at today are the areas that suffered the greatest damage in the flooding,” Cassmeyer said. “We’re looking for an overview here of the sites and the costs associated with the damage and clean-up.”
To qualify, Pettis County would have to have a minimum of $150,000 in damages.
“We’ve estimated in general terms that we have over $180,000 damages including the Wimer Bridge structure,” Eastern Commissioner Brent Hampy said. “That is the preliminary figure we’ll be presenting today.”
The process to receive funding is a multi-step one.
The first step began July 3, when the county and city were declared a disaster area.
Dave Clippert, director of the Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency, implemented a state of emergency for the area after weeks of heavy rains.
The members of the County Commission and Sedalia Mayor Steven Galliher all signed the declaration. Both the county and city are required to sign the declaration because Clippert is a representative for both entities.
The torrential rains began May 26.
“Between a 15- to 18-hour time span we received between seven and eight inches of rain in the county, according to the national weather service numbers,” Clippert said.
The rains continued throughout the week, leading to the declaration.
FEMA and SEMA will evaluate several categories when determining if the area will receive any funding. Those categories include debris, emergency protective measures, roads, bridges and culverts, water control facilities, building, equipment and vehicles, and parks, recreational and other facilities.
“We look at everything,” Arroyo said. “For example, with debris it’s a ‘cradle to grave’ approach. When did you pick it up, and what did you do with it?”
There are differences in the assessment depending on if the debris was removed from the area or if it was left on site.
“The most important thing that both the county and city can do is document everything,” Cassmeyer said. “We need to know the what, when, how and why.
“For our purposes, if it is not documented, it did not happen,” she added.
Both FEMA and SEMA not only look at the physical damage, but the county and city are also required to provide impact statements.
The impact statement looks at how the population is affected.
“In this we look at the number of families and people who are impacted,” Cassmeyer said. “Were any essential services interrupted, is there a potential impact to health care? For instance, will it take longer for an ambulance to get to an individual in need?”
Another factor in the equation is if the labor required to repair the damage defers attention from regular maintenance on other projects.
While the preliminary figures and report was due to be submitted Tuesday, Cassmeyer said there is no time line for if or when funds will be available to the county and city.
“After we compile our reports, it goes to our supervisors, then to the governor and finally the president,” Cassmeyer said. “The thing that everyone needs to remember is that every disaster and region is totally different.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484