USDA staff in Missouri joined Governor Jay Nixon on May 10 and May 11, 2011, at five Flood Recovery Resource Meetings to an estimated 600 people in Southeast Missouri. The meetings were held in the cities of Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, Charleston, New Madrid and Caruthersville which are located in the counties devastated by the recent flooding along the Black, Current, Mississippi and St. Francis Rivers, the cresting of Lakes Clearwater and Wappapello and the removal of the Birds Point Mississippi River Levee Plug.
The meetings were sponsored by Governor Nixon in an effort to respond to the needs of individuals, families and businesses affected by the flooding. The National Guard and the Highway Patrol started each meeting began with an update on the flooding situation. Representatives of state and federal agencies were introduced and attendees encouraged visiting informational booths concerning specific issues and learning of resources available.
USDA Rural Development (RD) staff members participated in all five meetings by distributing information and responding to questions concerning home repair, home purchase, temporary housing and public infrastructure repair. The majority of the visitors were homeowners experiencing flood water inundation in their homes. Some of these homeowners described and provided photographic evidence of water depths to the house’s roof. Others had homes completely submerged in flood water.
Resource representatives from the federal sector included: the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and Small Business Administration (SBA). Missouri State agencies included: Department of Natural Resources, Department of Economic Development, Department of Insurance, Department of Labor, Department of Public Safety, Department of Mental Health, Department of Social Services, Division of Employment Security, State Emergency Management Agency and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Also, each meeting was attended by the county’s health department.
These meetings were the initial step in offering assistance to those impacted by the flood events. USDA will be partnering with other agencies to continue to offer assistance to individuals, families, businesses and communities of Southeast Missouri to recover from the devastation of this record flooding.