Midwest States to Get Federal Help After Disaster Declarations Approved

July 13, 2020

At least three Midwest states – Michigan, Missouri and North Dakota will receive federal help after President Donald Trump approved their requests for federal disaster declarations.

Missouri requested a federal disaster declaration for severe storms in early May. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s office said in a news release that the declaration means federal assistance will be available to help 19 counties with the expense of responding to and recovering from the storm that churned up 70 mph winds.

One person died after strong winds knocked a tree into a home in western Missouri. The winds also tore the roof off a Mansfield school building. And there were several reports of downed trees, with thousands of people in the Kansas City metro area without power.

The preliminary damage and response cost estimates totaled more than $9.3 million.

Parson’s office said some of the federal money will be used to help repair and replace damaged electric power systems, buildings, bridges, roads and other public infrastructure.

The counties included in the disaster declaration are Bates, Butler, Carter, Dallas, Douglas, Dunklin, Henry, Hickory, Howell, Laclede, New Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Polk, Ripley, Shannon, Stoddard, Wayne, and Wright.

Trump approved Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a major disaster declaration for mid-Michigan counties swept by May floods and will provide more than $43 million to help in the recovery.

The Edenville dam failed during a steady rain, draining Wixom Lake and unleashing the Tittabawassee River, which then overwhelmed the Sanford dam, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Detroit.

“The devastation of this disaster touched thousands of Michigan families and businesses, and this federal declaration is an important step in our efforts to continue to provide assistance as they recover and rebuild,” Whitmer said.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum had requested a disaster declaration for widespread spring flooding in his state. Burgum’s office said flooding has caused an estimated $40 million-plus in damage in roads and other public infrastructure in North Dakota.

A presidential declaration unlocks Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance to help cities, counties and townships pay for the costs of repairing roads and other infrastructure damaged by flooding.

The governor in April declared a statewide emergency for spring flooding. He requested a presidential disaster declaration in May, when the Red River dropped below major flood stage in Pembina, in northeastern North Dakota.

Preliminary assessments of damage in 18 counties surpassed $8 million, with an additional $2 million in damage estimated to still be underwater. The state Department of Transportation also reported nearly $30 million in damage to its network of roads that are supported by federal aid.

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