Federal Disaster Declaration Approved for Public Assistance in June Storms

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Gov. Dave Heineman was notified Thursday that his request for a federal disaster declaration for Public Assistance in 12 counties was approved by President Barack Obama as a result of wide spread storm damage the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred June 14-21.

“We appreciate the approval of the disaster declaration for Public Assistance,” said Gov. Heineman. “The federal government and local entities have been good partners working with the State as we assessed the severe and extensive damage that occurred throughout Nebraska. I am proud of Nebraskans for coming together and helping each other in challenging times.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII office notified the governor that the Public Assistance portion of his request had been approved. Public Assistance can help with eligible costs to remove storm debris, take emergency protective measures and repair or replace disaster-damaged roads, bridges, public buildings, critical facilities, such as water, sewer and power systems and other public facilities. Those counties are: Cedar, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Franklin, Furnas, Harlan, Kearney, Phelps, Stanton, Thurston, and Wayne Counties.

Individual assistance, which would help individual home owners with the recovery process, was requested for Cedar, Cuming, Dixon, Stanton and Wayne counties.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations, on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work, and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the storm.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties and tribes within the state. All counties in the State of Nebraska are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Christian Van Alstyne has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Alstyne said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

“The public assistance declaration will help Nebraska recover some of the costs of responding to the disaster and will help fund rebuilding public infrastructure damaged by this disaster,” said Bryan Tuma, assistant director of Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.

“NEMA will work closely with local governments to help speed up the recovery process.”

Public assistance damage is expected to exceed $13 million.

NEMA will coordinate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine the full scope and impact of the damage.