Twenty-four counties and two tribal governments have been added to the federal disaster declaration secured by Gov. Mark Dayton July 21, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).
Twenty-four counties and two tribal governments have been added to the federal disaster declaration secured by Gov. Mark Dayton July 21, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM). This past week, HSEM Director Kris Eide requested FEMA add 30 counties to the disaster declaration; information and data regarding six of those counties is still being reviewed by FEMA. The 24 counties and two tribal governments added to the declaration and approved for federal assistance are: Beltrami, Blue Earth, Brown, Carver, Dodge, Faribault, Koochiching, Lac Qui Parle, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, , Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Nicollet, Redwood, Rice, Roseau, Scott, Sibley, Steele, Todd, Wadena, Waseca, and Yellow Medicine counties and the tribal governments of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and Prairie Island Indian Community. The six counties still under review by FEMA are: Dakota, Hennepin, Lyon, Ramsey, Watonwan and Wright. Dayton originally secured a major disaster declaration for eight counties that sustained damage following severe storms beginning June 11: Chippewa, Freeborn, Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Renville and Rock Counties. The approved counties are eligible for two categories of federal and state aid: • Public assistance – Assist-ance to state and local government and certain private not for profit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. This applies within the counties in the disaster area. • Hazard mitigation grant program – Assistance to state and local government and certain private not for profit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards. All counties in the state of Minnesota are eligible to apply for assistance under this program. Under a presidential disaster declaration, FEMA funds 75 percent of approved costs. The state of Minnesota funds the non-federal share. Eligible work can include debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster and repair or replacement of damaged public facilities such as roads, bridges, buildings, utilities and recreation areas. Counties included in the federal disaster declaration engage in the following process with state and federal emergency management officials. The Department of Public Safety is going to hold informational meetings for local officials in affected communities. These meetings explain the process of receiving federal aid and provide preliminary paperwork for applicants to complete. All requests for public assistance must be filed with the state within 30 days after the area is designated eligible for assistance. FEMA then returns to the affected communities to meet with each aid applicant to develop an action plan for disaster recovery. FEMA and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety develop a project worksheet for each project that clearly defines the work to be done and the projected costs.