Congressional Delegation Stresses Need of Individual Assistance for ND's Flood Impacted Counties
Federal Lawmakers Urge Secretary Napolitano to Approve Emergency Assistance
Washington - Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven and Congressman Rick Berg today urged Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to support the State of North Dakota's request for Individual Assistance (IA) for counties in North Dakota as residents continue to battle the effects of epic flooding.
The delegation is in Minot today assisting with flood emergency efforts. They called Secretary Napolitano to brief her on the situation on the ground in Minot and urged her quickly approve Governor Jack Dalrymple's formal appeal of FEMA’s initial denial of Individual Assistance for North Dakota.
Additionally, the delegation sent a letter to Secretary Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate expressing their support for Individual Assistance for North Dakota.
"We believe the initial decision was incorrect and inconsistent with facts on the ground in North Dakota. And recent events have only strengthened the case for individual assistance. As we write, we are witnessing devastating flooding in Minot," the delegation writes. "Meanwhile, hundreds of homes and thousands of individuals have had to be evacuated along the Missouri River."
An Individual Assistance designation will mean that those who are approved through the application process may be eligible for financial assistance through FEMA.
The Individual Assistance program includes a wide range of aid, including emergency home repair,
temporary disaster housing, replacement grants for serious disaster-related needs and expenses not covered by insurance or assistance programs.
"We know Individual Assistance will not make flooded home and business owners whole, but it will give them a badly needed start on the rebuilding process," the delegation writes.
Earlier today, Senator Conrad, Senator Hoeven and Congressman Berg met with community leaders in Minot to ensure they are getting all the federal support they need in the ongoing flood fight.
A copy of the delegation's letter is below:The Honorable Janet NapolitanoSecretary of Homeland SecurityU.S. Department of Homeland SecurityWashington, DC 20528 The Honorable Craig FugateAdministrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
Dear Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate:
As flood waters inundate Minot, North Dakota, we write in strong support of Governor Dalrymple’s formal appeal of FEMA’s initial denial of Individual Assistance for North Dakota.
We believe the initial decision was incorrect and inconsistent with facts on the ground in North Dakota. And recent events have only strengthened the case for individual assistance. As we write, we are witnessing devastating flooding in Minot. More than 11,000 individuals have left their homes in response to a mandatory evacuation order, with hundreds more forced out of their homes in other communities along the Souris. An unprecedented volume of water is on the way that will shatter previous flood records and leave homes under as much as 15 feet of water.
Meanwhile, hundreds of homes and thousands of individuals have had to be evacuated along the Missouri River. Many of these homes are sustaining serious damage as floodwaters inundate basements and collapse foundations. Sustained high water levels in both areas augur ever growing damages over the coming weeks and months.
Because these affected communities are protected by upstream dams, few homeowners carry flood insurance. Despite heroic efforts along both river systems to protect structures and property, the financial impact on individuals is huge and growing. As Governor Dalrymple notes, evacuees in many cases must continue to pay mortgages and other costs while simultaneously paying rent, investing in flood protection for their properties, and preparing for the costs of repairing or replacing damaged structures and personal property.
Beyond those impacted along these two rivers, the entire state, including in particular the Devils Lake basin, is dealing with extraordinarily high water levels that continue to impose costs on homeowners, businesses, and agricultural operations.
We know Individual Assistance will not make flooded home and business owners whole, but it will give them a badly needed start on the rebuilding process. Again, we urge you to carefully consider the additional information provided by the Governor, as well as the changed facts and circumstances since your initial decision, and quickly approve Individual Assistance for affected areas in our state.
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