More than 15 inches of rain over a week-long period has resulted in a crisis in Southeast Missouri with more predicted. In Poplar Bluff, the Black River surged over its levee at about 35 spots Wednesday. The communities of Delta, Chaffee, Gordonville and Whitewater have seen some of the most widespread flooding. To help aid flood-relief efforts, the governor has activated 400 members of the National Guard to assist the affected areas. In Cape Girardeau, it was expected that the Mississippi could see a crest 12 feet above flood stage. The flooding is causing issues for almost every town near the river in the region, and the significant precipitation totals are creating difficulties for some communities far from the water’s edge.
When disasters like this affect our community, the first priority is safety. Please listen to local updates and follow the instructions of our local authorities so that we can all remain safe. Roads throughout the area are closed due to unsafe driving conditions. Flood closures are affecting roads throughout the area. You can keep track of the road conditions in your area online with the Missouri Department of Transportation Traveler Information Map, available here.
I have always been proud to be a part of the dedicated and caring communities of Southeast Missouri, and I know that events like this bring us together as neighbors. I know the members of our community will continue to band together to help the victims of this flood. The Southeast Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross has provided assistance for flood victims, providing shelter and necessities for those who have been affected by the storms. They are in need of volunteers and donations. You can find more information online at www.semoredcross.org or by calling (573) 335-9471.
Once the immediate threat is over, recovery and rebuilding will begin. We are a resilient community, and I know we will again band together to help each other. The United Way of Southeast Missouri is providing the following information on disaster assistance (also available here).
1. Register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or going online at www.fema.gov as soon as possible. This will not obligate you to take advantage of any of the programs offered. It is simply the first step in determining what assistance individuals qualify for.
2. Register with the Small Business Administration for business AND individual losses by calling 800-659-2955 or going online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
3. Register with the American Red Cross by calling Call 1-866-GET INFO (438-4636). Hearing impaired callers may use TDD 1-800-526-1417. Callers will be connected with a local Red Cross volunteer caseworker to assess their eligibility for assistance.
4. Contact the Salvation Army at 573-335-7000. They have clean-up kits, vouchers for their thrift stores, and a food pantry, as well as other resources.
5. Contact First Call for Help at 334-HELP (4357) during normal office hours (8-5, M-F) or 2-1-1 after hours and on weekends for any other needs.
Families throughout our community are facing hardships, and together, we will get through this difficult time. I will continue to keep you up to date on the coordinated emergency efforts going on in Southeast Missouri and how we can all help our neighbors through this disaster.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me on the web at www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.