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FEMA includes Pierce County in federal disaster declaration

By Staff | Apr 27, 2009

Pierce County officials received word late last month the county is eligible for federal disaster funding assistance to repair damaged infrastructur, such as roads and culverts from excessive runoff.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) late last month added 16 counties, including Pierce and neighboring McHenry and Benson, to the Presidential Disaster Declaration.

Several townships, especially those in the southern portion of Pierce County, have been hardest hit with sections of roads flooded, or washed out due to excessive runoff. Some roads have been reopened, but some remain closed until water levels recede.

FEMA workers were in the county last week to fill out project worksheets relating to federal assistance to pay for preventative measures, such as road barricades and sand bags, according to Duane Veach, county disaster emergency services coordinator.

Later this month, FEMA will return to fill out assess the damaged roads and culverts, and Veach expects it will take a good month for the project worksheets to be filled out, and submitted to FEMA administrators for review and approval.

The federal designation means the county will be eligible for 75 percent of the cost for replacement or repairs of damaged roads or culverts to be paid with federal dollars, and at least 15 percent of costs covered by the state of North Dakota.

The N.D. Legislature last week appropriated over $115 million toward infrastructure replacement, or repairs damaged from spring flooding. So additional state funds could pick up a larger percent of the costs to repair or replace sections of roads in the county. It’s too early to detemine what the county’s repair costs could be.

This is the first time since 2005 the county has received federal disaster assistance for road and culvert damage, Veach said.

In total, 43 counties and three Indian reservations have been approved for public assistance programs.

Individual assistance available

Pierce is also among several counties that have been approved for FEMA individual assistance. Those residents who have sustained damage to private property due to flooding or runoff, and believe they would qualify should contact Veach.

Income level is one one of the criteria to be eligible for funds. For more information contact Veach at 776-5225, extension 8.

In addition to the individual assistance, county residents are also eligible for low-cost disaster loans available through the Small Business Administration. To register for FEMA assistance, call 1-800-621-3362; or 1-800-462-7585; or log on to www.disasterassistance.gov

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