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Mississippi River flooding in St. Charles County

Emily Kientzel puts a cooler in her friend's boat as they prepare to take a boat out over floodwater from the Mississippi River to his home outside of Portage des Sioux on Sunday, June 2, 2019. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

The White House approved the state of Missouri’s request for a major disaster declaration tied to this spring’s widespread and near-historic flooding in the region, and other severe weather.

The designation Tuesday from President Donald Trump makes residents of 20 Missouri counties — including Lincoln, Pike and St. Charles counties, north of St. Louis — eligible for certain assistance programs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Parts of those counties were among the most affected by the flooding around St. Louis. Until now, months of high water had prevented damage assessments from taking place in certain areas, which is a necessary precursor to receiving federal assistance.

“The state’s June 24 request for a federal disaster declaration stated that Preliminary Damage Assessments examined 1,650 primary homes, of which 953 had been destroyed or sustained major damage,” according to a Tuesday announcement from the office of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. “The assessments also showed that 125 of 251 businesses that were examined had been destroyed or sustained major damage.”