Parson asks for federal help with COVID-19 pandemic

1 week 4 days 22 hours ago Wednesday, March 25 2020 Mar 25, 2020 Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:15:02 PM CDT March 25, 2020 in News
By: Claire Colby, Columbia Missourian

JEFFERSON CITY— Gov. Mike Parson now says the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a level of severity that state and local governments are not able to effectively respond.

Parson announced Wednesday he has filed a request with President Donald Trump asking for approval of a major disaster declaration for Missouri, according to a news release from the governor’s press office. The request was filed late Tuesday.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has already had a devastating effect on the state of Missouri, straining hospitals, healthcare facilities and nursing homes, businesses large and small, schools, and tens of thousands of Missourians who have been forced out of their jobs," Parson said in the statement.

If approved, Missouri would join Iowa, California, Washington, Louisiana and New York as states with a federally recognized major disaster status.

In the request, Parson asked for two programs statewide: Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) individual assistance program.

Parson also requested FEMA’s Public Assistance Program to assist local governments and nonprofits with emergency response expenses. He also asked for FEMA help with debris removal expenses if needed for the disposal of waste related to COVID-19, according to the statement.

"Although it is continuing to develop, it’s already clear the COVID-19 pandemic will have a more sweeping impact on the entire state of Missouri than any other previous disaster that has affected our citizens," Parson said in the statement. "There is an urgent need for federal assistance to help Missouri families meet today’s challenges and the many more that we will face."

Parson declared a state of emergency in Missouri on March 13. Several cities across the state, including St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City have already adopted "stay at home" orders. 

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