President Approves North Dakota Governor's Disaster Declaration Request

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, and Congressman Kevin Cramer today said President Barack Obama has approved Governor Jack Dalrymple’s request for a major disaster declaration for 19 North Dakota counties and two Indian reservations due to spring flooding. The incident period runs from May 17 to June 16, 2013.

The delegation wrote to President Barack Obama in May to press for approval of the state’s request: “The combination of a heavy snowpack, very late snowmelt and other factors led to overflowing rivers and extensive overland flooding,” the delegation wrote. “Rapidly rising temperatures accelerated the pace of the late snowmelt, which overwhelmed major rivers and their tributaries across the state. The impacts from these floods have grown beyond the capability of the state and local jurisdictions to respond and we hope you will approve this declaration as soon as possible to ensure necessary resources are available for flood recovery.”

Approved for Public Assistance are Benson, Bottineau, Cavalier, Dunn, Kidder, McHenry, McKenzie, McLean, Mountrail, Nelson, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Sheridan, Stark, Towner, Walsh, Ward and Wells Counties, and the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indian Reservation. Public assistance provides aid for emergency work and the repair and replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and other infrastructure.

In addition, all counties and Indian Tribes in the state of North Dakota are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which helps with actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.

“Approval of this request will give these hard-hit communities an opportunity to begin the hard work of recovery,” the delegation said. “Further, elegibility for Hazard Mitigation Grants will give them an early start on efforts to reduce the impacts of future flooding risks.”

On March 29, 2013, the State of North Dakota declared a flood emergency for counties and Tribal Nations that had a 50 percent probability of reaching or exceeding moderate or major flood stage as well as for the Devils Lake Basin. On April 23, 2013 the governor requested an emergency declaration based on extensive flood threats, which the president approved on April 26. After a Preliminary Damage Assessment, on May 20, 2013, the State of North Dakota changed its emergency declaration to a disaster declaration.