State Appeals Denial of Individual Assistance for Flood Damage

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard said today the State is appealing FEMA’s denial of South Dakota’s request for Individual Assistance programs to help residents impacted by record flooding.

The denial of Individual Assistance came in a July 22 letter from FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who said damage to homes fell short of the severity and magnitude to warrant federal assistance.

After receiving the denial letter, Gov. Daugaard directed the State Office of Emergency Management to open a call center and provide an online survey form for reports of major damage to homes of residents in 11 counties hardest-hit by the flooding. That effort resulted in several additional reports of major damage to homes.

“Whether the additional damage is sufficient to convince FEMA to reverse its decision, we don’t know,’’ the Governor said. “We must make this appeal, however. Those South Dakotans who sustained property damage from this record flooding deserve nothing less than our best effort.’’

If the appeal is unsuccessful, Gov. Daugaard said the State will continue vigorously to pursue other programs from both government and voluntary agencies to help individuals and communities recover over the coming weeks and months.

South Dakota has received a Presidential Disaster Declaration because of flood damage to roads, bridges and other public infrastructure in 37 counties. The State is seeking a similar declaration to make federal assistance available to individuals in 11 counties hardest hit by flooding in 2011.

Individual Assistance programs were requested for Charles Mix, Clay, Day, Hamlin, Hand, Hughes, Kingsbury, Lyman, Stanley, Union and Yankton counties.

To qualify for FEMA’s Individual Assistance, a structure must be a primary residence located in one of the 11 named counties and have major damage. By FEMA definition, major damage includes collapsed basements walls, more than 18 inches of water on the main floor of a home or other damage that would require 30 days or more to repair.

The last time South Dakota qualified for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for individual assistance was in 2007, when early-May storms caused sudden, widespread flooding in the Aberdeen area. The average individual payment in that incident was slightly less than $2,000.

(Story provided by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety)

State to Open Call Center, Online Site to Gather More Flood Damage

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that South Dakota is opening a call center and providing an online survey form at its disaster recovery website to gather more flood-damage information from residents of 11 counties hardest-hit by flooding.

The action comes in the wake of FEMA’s denial of a state request for Individual Assistance programs to help citizens recover from flood damage. South Dakota has qualified for a federal disaster declaration to help pay costs of damage to public infrastructure but not for costs of damage to private homes.

To appeal FEMA’s denial of Individual Assistance, the state needs additional documentation of major damage to homes in the 11 counties, the Governor said.

“We are opening the call center and online survey to capture new or additional information on flood damages,’’ Gov. Daugaard said. “We are asking everyone in the 11 counties to call or fill out the survey. Even if you reported damages the first time around, we encourage you to participate. We want to be absolutely certain our initial assessment did not miss any instances of major damage.’’

Damage information is being sought from residents of Charles Mix, Clay, Day, Hamlin, Hand, Hughes, Kingsbury, Lyman, Stanley, Union and Yankton.

FEMA’s Individual Assistance program requires that the structure be a primary residence located in one of those 11 counties. By FEMA definition, major damage includes damage that would require 30 days or more to repair, collapsed basement walls and more than 18 inches of water on the main floor of a home. Water in a basement or damage that requires less than 30 days to repair are examples of damage that falls short of FEMA’s major-damage standard.

The call center will accept damage reports from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, July 27, through Friday, July 29. The number is 1-866-446-5324. An online survey form to report damage will operate continuously at www.disasterrecovery.sd.gov from Wednesday morning through midnight Sunday, July 31.

(Information provided by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety)

Davison County Road Closure Update for Friday, July 8, 2011

The Davison County Highway Department opened Shanard Road between 411th Avenue and 412th Avenue and 263rd Street between 398th Avenue and 399th Avenue on Friday.

The following roads remain closed due to water:

  • 245th Street between 410th Avenue and 411th Avenue
  • 267th Street between Highway 37 and 411th Avenue
  • 256th Street between 402nd Avenue and 403rd Avenue
  • 250th Street between 394th Avenue and 395th Avenue (box culvert out)

South Dakota Delegation Sends Letter to President in Support of Governor’s Individual Assistance Request

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The South Dakota Congressional delegation today sent the following letter to President Barack Obama expressing their support for South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard’s recent request to the President to make available Individual Assistance, statewide Hazard Mitigation, and Small Business Administration disaster loans as part of the major disaster declaration issued on May 13, 2011, concerning the recent record flooding in South Dakota:

July 8, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

On behalf of the people of South Dakota, we write to express our support for Governor Dennis Daugaard’s recent request that you make available Individual Assistance, statewide Hazard Mitigation, and Small Business Administration disaster loans as part of the major disaster declared on May 13, 2011.  This would provide resources necessary for individuals to deal with the continuous flooding situation along the Missouri River in our state.

One of the unique characteristics of the 2011 Missouri River flooding is the length of time it will last.  The Missouri River rose in late May, and the Army Corps of Engineers predicts that we will continue to see increased releases from the six dams along the Missouri River until well into the month of August.  Clearly, this is not a conventional flood event where waters quickly rise and recede.  As a consequence, many citizens are experiencing large scale disruption of normal community functions and services, which is having a traumatic impact on homeowners, businesses and the affected communities.

As the governor’s request indicates, 391 homes of the 400 inspected during the preliminary damage assessment are uninhabitable at this time due to damage from flooding and from the prolonged danger caused by this historic flooding event.  While the number of homes and individuals affected by flooding may seem low in comparison to flooding events in more populous states—and may appear on paper to reflect “scattered damages”—the fact is that, in a sparsely populated state like ours, the numbers reflect high concentrations of damages that indicate a greater need for federal assistance. For example, in Ft. Pierre, at least 185 households have evacuated, representing 23% of the households in Ft. Pierre, while in Dakota Dunes, 482 households have evacuated, representing 49% of that community.

In light of these considerations, we respectfully urge you to expeditiously review our governor’s request and make available those additional forms of disaster assistance referenced above.  We also ask that you instruct federal agencies to expedite delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which South Dakota would be eligible based upon such a declaration.

We would be pleased to offer any assistance that you may require in fulfilling this request, and we thank you for your consideration of this important matter.  Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if we can provide you with additional information.

Sincerely,

Tim Johnson                                        John Thune                               Kristi Noem
U.S. Senate                                          U.S. Senate                              Member of Congress

(Information provided by Sen. Thune’s office)

Thune Leads Effort to Request Senate Hearings on Missouri River Flooding

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today led a bipartisan group of 14 Missouri River Senators in sending a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee leadership requesting a hearing in the near future to examine the management of water levels along the Missouri River prior to the recent historic flooding and to examine current flood prevention practices along the Missouri River.

“After the historic levels of flooding subside and South Dakotans begin to recover from this tragedy, I am committed to ensuring that we analyze all of the water management decisions that led up to this flooding, including reevaluating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Master Manual,” said Thune. “In addition to being in frequent contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ leadership, and other state, local, and federal authorities, I believe we need to have open and transparent hearings in the U.S. Senate to determine what caused this historic flooding and make sure that it never happens again. I look forward to working with Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe to arrange for such hearings in the near future.”

The full text of the Senators’ letter is included below.

July 8, 2011

The Honorable Barbara Boxer                                    The Honorable James Inhofe

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Republican Member

United States Senate Committee on                           United States Senate Committee on

Environment and Public Works                                  Environment and Public Works

410 Dirksen Senate Office Building                          456 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510                                            Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Inhofe:

We write to request a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee regarding the flooding of the Missouri River this year.

As you know, the historic flooding of the Missouri River is having a tremendous impact on our constituents and is not expected to recede for a few months. Throughout our states, citizens face tremendous disruption to their lives as their homes are flooded, their businesses shuttered, their roads are washed-out, and their livelihoods are threatened. This is also creating a tremendous strain on state and local governments which must deal with not only many of the costs of flood prevention and public safety, but also with depressed tax receipts as tourism, farming, and other business activities are negatively impacted.

While we are all currently working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and other state and local entities to prevent damage and prepare for recovery, we will, after the waters recede, need to understand the causes of this flood and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. Many of our constituents have serious concerns about the management of water levels in the lead up to this unprecedented flood event as well as the timeliness of the warnings given to individuals, businesses, and state and local governments that a flood would occur. We believe this hearing should address the causes of this flooding, the Corps’ response and management of the dams, whether or not the Master Manual used by the Corps impacted flood protection efforts, a full accounting of the costs of the flooding, and what actions are needed to lessen the likelihood and limit the damages of another flood of this magnitude in the future.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to continuing to work with you on these issues and stand ready to participate in such a hearing at the appropriate time.

Sincerely,

John Thune (R-S.D.)

Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)

Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)

Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)

Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)

John Hoeven (R-N.D.)

Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)

Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)

Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)

Jon Tester (D-Mont.)

Max Baucus (D-Mont.)

(Information provided by Sen. Thune’s office.)

Davison County Road Closure Update for July 5, 2011

The Davison County Highway Department closed 263rd Street between 398th Avenue and 399th Avenue.

The following roads remain closed:

  • 245th Street between 410th Avenue and 411th Avenue
  • 267th Street between Highway 37 and 411th Avenue
  • 256th Street between 402nd Avenue and 403rd Avenue
  • 250th Street between 394th Avenue and 395th Avenue (box culvert out)
  • Shanard Road between 411th Avenue and 412th Avenue

Davison County Road Closure Update for Thursday, June 30

The Davison County Highway Department today closed Shanard Road between 411th Avenue and 412th Avenue because of flooding.

Other closed roads include:

  • 245th Street between 410th Avenue and 411th Avenue
  • 267th Street between Highway 37 and 411th Avenue
  • 256th Street between 402nd Avenue and 403rd Avenue
  • 250th Street between 394th Avenue and 395th Avenue (box culvert is out)