13 counties granted disaster status
President Bush Friday declared thirteen counties in Minnesota a major disaster area. The declaration makes available several different kinds of federal aid, including individual and public assistance for those affected by the flooding and severe ...
President Bush Friday declared thirteen counties in Minnesota a major disaster area.
The declaration makes available several different kinds of federal aid, including individual and public assistance for those affected by the flooding and severe weather in northwestern Minnesota.
"I appreciate the President's prompt attention to this serious situation," Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said.
The declaration is for Becker, Beltrami, Clay, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties.
Individual assistance is available immediately for Roseau County residents. Hazard mitigation funds are available for all of the area.
"The entire region has seen tremendous damage to homes, roads, land and public infrastructure," Peterson said. "While important attention has been given to the devastation in Roseau and other towns, we cannot forget that the flood did not stop at the city limits."
Norman County Engineer Milton Alm said he expects the county will spend a good share of the summer fixing washed-out and damaged stretches of roadway.
"We're starting to put some figures together and rounding up some contractors to help us out at various locations," he said. "I think most of the major (roadways) we should have taken care of in three or four weeks. "But," Alm added, "I think there will be related work going on all summer."
Alm said about 70 or 80 spots need attention and he estimated the total cost of road repairs may exceed $1 million.
"We have paved roads where water has washed out maybe a foot of shoulder material and you have quite a drop-off at the edge of the pavement.
"We didn't have this extent of road damage in (the flood of) 1997," Alm said.
"It ('97) was kind of a softer flood," he said. "This one was just -- bang! It was there and it hit us hard."
Cleanup began in earnest Friday in Ada, where city workers began the task of emptying sandbags and tidying up city streets.
Assistant Public Works Director Lowell Thompson said a call for volunteers Friday elicited a much smaller turnout than the city got earlier in the week when it asked for help filling sandbags.
He said actual physical damage to city infrastructure was minimal, though he said a railroad bed critical to the city's dike system will have to be rebuilt.
Lyle Docken, who farms north of Ada, said Friday the flooding on his cropland may have reduced his harvest this year by a half.
He spent part of the day cleaning up a workshop that that was flooded by more than a foot of water.
"My shop was a mess before," he said. "Now it's a real mess."
Anyone with questions about flood-related assistance can contact FEMA, the Small Business Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army or one of Peterson's offices.
Grants for emergency repairs will usually be available for people who qualify within 10 days of a call to the FEMA hot line. The number is (800) 621-3362.
Readers can reach Moorhead Bureau Chief Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555