ST. LOUIS (CN) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency won’t be coming to the aid of victims of a tornado that ravaged the St. Louis area on New Year’s Eve. FEMA decided the damage magnitude did not rise to the level needed to secure individual assistance from the federal government.
FEMA spokesman Josh deBerge told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the agency was not looking at dollar amounts, but at factors such as concentration of damage, the amount of damage already covered by insurance and the availability of voluntary agencies.
Instead of appealing, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is asking the U.S. Small Business Administration to make low-interest loans available for victims of the storm.
Nixon’s office said that if an appeal were filed, any request to the SBA would have had to wait until the appeal was completed.
A spokesman for the SBA said a decision on Nixon’s request would come soon.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said the loans would not be enough for many victims inside city limits, where FEMA estimates that only a quarter of the damaged homes were insured.
One area woman was killed on New Year’s Eve and tornados caused extensive damage in Robertsville, Fenton, Sunset Hills and St. Louis. The same storm system killed a man in southwest Missouri.