South Dakota governor requests federal disaster help

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is asking for a presidential disaster declaration because of property damage caused by a snowstorm and flooding this spring.

Noem requested the federal aid in a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The governor asked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with repairs for damage to both public property as well as to homes and businesses.

Noem says a “historic severe winter storm of rare intensity” begin in South Dakota on March 13, followed by rapid snowmelt and flooding.

flooded houses and farm near Sioux Falls

Photo Courtesy of the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol

Flooding in Sioux Falls area March 30.

Noem noted the severe weather impacted all parts of the state. The governor wrote that people had to be rescued from their flooded homes; city wastewater treatment plans and sewage lagoons were overwhelmed from high water; highways, ranging from the interstates to the county roads, were closed and damaged by both snow and water; power outages occurred in different parts of the state; and, the state’s agricultural industry was impacted by damage to fields and livestock.

A preliminary damage assessment indicates about $43 million in damage to infrastructure in 58 counties and on three reservations. Individual assistance is estimated at about $3 million covering 16 counties and three reservations.

“South Dakotans pride themselves on being a hardy group of citizens, and we pull together to help one another, especially in times of disaster,” Noem wrote. “However, with the availability of federal assistance, combined with state, local, and voluntary assistance provided, it will help individuals, businesses, and government inch closer to recovering from this disaster.”

The governor’s request does not guarantee federal funding will be made available to South Dakota and its citizens. South Dakota last received an Individual Assistance declaration in 2011 for widespread damage from Missouri River flooding. The last Public Assistance declaration was granted in 2016 following a Christmas ice storm.

South Dakota currently has six open Presidential disaster declarations for other events and is working with FEMA on the recovery process for each of those disasters

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News