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FEMA begins to assess flood damage

Sun, Jun 18th, 2000
Posted in

Monday, June 19, 2000

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were in Preston on Thursday, June 15 to begin documenting damage from recent rains and flooding. FEMA was invited to conduct a preliminary damage assessment at the request of Governor Jesse Ventura in response to severe storms that began on May 26. FEMA is expected to assess damage in several southeastern Minnesota counties, including Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Winona and Dodge.

FEMA officials from Region V, based out of Chicago, are working in tandem with the Minnesota Division of Emergency Management and local officials in the affected areas. Assessment teams were sent out to each of the affected counties on Thursday, and were expected to finish their work by Friday. An initial assessment from the Minnesota Division of Emergency Management is anticipated as early as the week of June 19.

Kevin Leuer, Director of the Minnesota Division of Emergency Management, said that FEMA and the state were here to verify damages that have been reported by county, city and township government and to assess the impact that the disaster has had on the affected areas.

"We need to be able to articulate to the President why assistance is needed," Leuer said. Leuer went on to say that damages would need to exceed a damage formula of $1 per capita for the entire state, or approximately $4.5 million to $5 million in the affected area, in order for the state to request that the President declare a disaster.

The work of each team begins with reviewing the types of damage or emergency costs that have been reported by various units of government. A team will tour Fillmore County to review the numbers of homes and businesses damaged by the flooding, the number of people displaced and the threat to health and safety caused by the storm event. A Small Business Administration official from Atlanta was on hand to assist FEMA.

Each team will collect estimates of the expenses and damages. This information can then be used by the governor to support a declaration request to the President - that the cost of re-sponse efforts exceeds state and local resources.

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