A Missouri Congressman who had multiple conversations with the White House in May about flooding is pleased that President Donald Trump has issued a federal disaster declaration.

A May 1, 2017 photo of Van Buren School {photo from Missourinet Farmington affiliate KREI Radio}

President Trump has approved Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ (R) request for a major disaster declaration for a total of 48 Missouri counties.

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem) had several conversations with White House officials and with Greitens’ staff in May about a federal disaster declaration.

“And when you see the over 1,217 homes that were either severely damaged or destroyed and the numerous businesses and the bridges and roads completely washed away, help is needed,” Smith says.

Smith says 22 of those 48 counties are in his sprawling southern Missouri district.

Governor Greitens says the Missouri flooding that happened in late April and early May was historic. He says it led to the destruction or damage of more than 1,200 homes, and caused at least $58 million in damage to roads, bridges and other public infrastructure.

Congressman Smith, who represents 30 counties in southeast and south-central Missouri, surveyed numerous communities during the flooding. While he saw enormous damage, he also saw hope.

“We had charitable organizations coming from all over the country and across our state coming and reaching out, whether it was Tecumseh, whether it was in Thomasville, whether it was Ellington or Van Buren, West Plains,” says Smith.

When Smith spoke to Missourinet in May from Carter County’s Van Buren, he noted that more than 100 homes and 30 businesses had been damaged. Smith also noted that the county courthouse that day (May 1) was in six to eight feet of water.

Missourinet Farmington affiliate KREI Radio (AM 800) reported that day that the Van Buren school and St. George Catholic Church were also under water.

President Trump’s disaster declaration makes the individual assistance program available to eligible residents in 27 Missouri counties. Those counties are Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney and Texas.

Smith encourages residents impacted by the flooding and storms to apply for assistance. Residents can call 1-800-621-FEMA seven days a week or can go online at DisasterAssistance.gov.

Eligible residents can apply for assistance with temporary housing, housing repairs and replacement of household items.

Smith praises the entire Missouri congressional delegation for signing the letter to President Trump, which urged him to issue the disaster declaration. Smith says when the delegation is fighting for Missourians, they “are all on the same page.” Smith notes Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) and U.S. Reps. William Lacy Clay (D-St. Louis) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Kansas City) signed the letter to Trump.

Click here to listen to the full five-minute interview between Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth and U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem):