A southeast Missouri Congressman is hopeful that President Donald Trump will issue a federal disaster declaration, after devastating flooding across the state.

A photo of Van Buren School {photo from Missourinet Farmington affiliate KREI Radio}

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem) says he’s had “multiple” conversations with the White House about a federal disaster declaration, adding that he’s also working with Governor Eric Greitens (R).

Congressman Smith surveyed damage across his district on Monday. He tells Missourinet all of the major highways into West Plains are currently impassable.

“Down here in Howell County over the weekend, this area saw over 14 inches of rain within a 24-hour, 36-hour window,” Smith says.

Smith represents 30 counties in southeast and south-central Missouri in Congress.

He also surveyed damage in Carter County’s Van Buren, a small town named after former President Martin Van Buren.

The Current River at Van Buren has crested, beating the old record by more than nine feet. Smith says flooding there has devastated the town of about 800 people.

“Over 100 homes have been damaged, 30 businesses, the (county) courthouse was in six to eight feet of water,” says Smith. “A lot of devastation.”

Missourinet Farmington affiliate KREI Radio (AM 800) reports the Van Buren school and St. George Catholic Church are also under water.

Smith is praising the efforts of southern Missourians in helping their neighbors who have been impacted by the devastating flooding.

“I just witnessed watching 30 to 40 high school kids in West Plains, Missouri doing everything they can to help their friends and neighbors picking up debris and trash,” Smith says.

Smith, who is the House GOP Conference Secretary, also traveled to Poplar Bluff on Monday to talk with residents impacted by flooding.

Gov. Greitens declared a State of Emergency on Friday, because of the massive rainfall amounts and deadly flash flooding.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden told Missourinet on Monday that state officials have ordered more than one million sandbags and 200 tons of sand, for the entire state.


Click here to listen to the full six-minute interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Congressman Jason Smith (R-Salem):