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FEMA taking damage assesment in wake of Missouri flood

By Adam Allington, KWMU

Valley Park, MO – The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, is sending damage assessment teams around Missouri as part of the recovery phase from last week's flooding.

FEMA Director David Paulison toured Missouri on Thursday along with Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder.

If advised by Paulison, President Bush could sign an individual assistance declaration to help property owners recoup losses.

"Were going to be looking at insurance coverage, we're going to be looking at levels of income and how much the state can absorb and how much it cannot absorb and I'll be making a recommendation to the president in the next couple days," said Paulison.

If approved, homeowners without insurance could qualify for up to $28,000.

Paulison inspected the levee in the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park on the Meramec River.

State Director of Public Safety Mark James said that most flood damage has occurred on the banks of smaller rivers.

"So far, it's really been these smaller tributaries that have very fast runoff that have been the problem, versus the larger big rivers like the Missouri and Mississippi, which have very broad channels."

Seventy Missouri counties were declared disaster areas in the wake of the flood.

Paulison will make his recommendation to the president over the weekend. In cases of repeated flood damage, Paulison says the government has bought out nearly 5,000 homeowners in Missouri alone.

FEMA will have over 200 staff on the ground in Missouri by Saturday. The state is expecting several more inches of rain over the weekend.

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