DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced tonight that President Obama has announced a disaster area for 21 Minnesota counties in southern Minnesota. The decision puts the wheels in motion to provide federal and state assistance to those impacted by last month’s flooding. Preliminary estimates suggest the damages caused by the floods are roughly $64 million.
Gov. Pawlenty was waiting for the declaration to be made before he called a Special Session to pick up the state’s portion of the cost. No word yet on when the Special Session will be called.
Here’s the statement from Klobuchar’s office:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar issued the following statement after President Obama announced a presidential disaster declaration for 21 Minnesota counties that experienced severe flooding in late September. With the President’s declaration, the following counties are eligible for Public Assistance: Blue Earth, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Mower, Murray, Olmsted, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, and Winona Counties.
“Our local officials, first responders, citizens and volunteers have done tremendous work responding to these devastating floods,” said Klobuchar. “I have seen first-hand the widespread damage that these southern Minnesota communities have endured and with this assistance, these communities can begin working to rebuild. This is a good beginning, and I will continue to work with state and federal officials for additional assistance.”
The declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to release funds for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. The Public Assistance designation makes public entities eligible for assistance to repair roads, bridges, water facilities and parks that were damaged by the disaster.
In addition, the declaration makes every county across the state eligible for Hazard Mitigation Assistance. This designation makes local units of government eligible for mitigation measures to reduce personal loss, save lives, and reduce the cost to the nation of responding to and recovering from future disasters.