Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that the federal government will pay for 90 percent of the cost of expedited debris removal in parts of the Joplin area that received catastrophic or extensive damage from the devastating tornado that hit on May 22. The Governor received word late Monday that the state application for the federal funding for the expedited debris removal had been approved by President Barack Obama.
Gov. Nixon made the announcement at the National Guard Armory in Joplin, where he was joined by Col. William Ward, who is leading the Guard's Task Force Phoenix. Gov. Nixon has directed Task Form Phoenix to lead the debris removal effort.
The federal funding will help with the expedited removal of millions of cubic yards of debris from the location of homes, businesses and other buildings in Joplin. Gov. Nixon has ordered the Missouri National Guard to serve as the state's point agency on the debris removal process. Maj. General Stephen L. Danner, Adjutant General of Missouri, has assigned Col. Ward to lead Task Force Phoenix in that effort.
"As I have said from the start, we will rebuild Joplin," Gov. Nixon said. "That is why I ordered the Missouri National Guard to lead the process of removing debris as soon as possible and to work with families and business owners to facilitate debris removal from their property. I have met personally with Brig. Gen. John McMahon, commander of the Northwest Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Col. Ward; and other leaders of Task Force Phoenix to discuss their mission and the importance of clearing this debris so that we can move forward with rebuilding Joplin as quickly as possible."
"The Missouri National Guard has been working non-stop to respond to this disaster from the first day, and this 90 percent federal funding will be of great assistance as we work through the challenge of removing a vast amount of debris and rebuilding this community," the Governor said.
The Governor also spoke directly with President Obama about the importance of moving forward with debris removal on an expedited basis in order to rebuild the community.
The federal debris removal program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with the assistance of the Corps of Engineers. It addresses debris removal in communities within, or immediately adjacent to, areas of catastrophic or extensive damage. Before debris removal teams can go onto private property, property owners will have to give their permission. FEMA will determine the degree of destruction by using a combination of mapping and information from local, state and federal officials who have surveyed the damage first-hand.
More information about the program such as how residents and business owners can request debris removal will be made available in the coming days.