Tornado-Ravaged N.D. Town Tallies $3.5M in Uninsured Losses

September 10, 2007

Data collected from residents in tornado-ravaged Northwood, N.D., show about $3.5 million in uninsured losses, Gov. John Hoeven’s office says.

Hoeven and members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation have been pushing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to grant individual assistance for residents because most homeowners do not have enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding.

FEMA says assistance for homeowners would not fill the gaps for many underinsured homeowners, because the maximum a household could receive is $28,200.

Don Larson, a spokesman for Hoeven, said 190 forms showing uninsured losses were collected from residents on Sept. 7 and sent to FEMA’s regional office in Denver.

President Bush has designated Northwood as a disaster area in the wake of the Aug. 26 tornado, which killed one man and injured 18 other people. The twister destroyed, damaged or affected all but 29 of Northwood’s residences, according to the Red Cross.

The designation enables state and local governments in the area to recover some of the costs of emergency aid and help rebuilding efforts.

For the North Dakota National Guard, it means officials can apply for reimbursement of about 75 percent of the estimated $125,000 in labor and equipment provided by 97 soldiers who volunteered in Northwood, said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, the state Guard commander.

The Guard helped clean up after the F-4 tornado, which packed winds as strong as 150 mph that blew debris for miles.

Doris Johnson, 93, slept through the chaos. Johnson had taken out her hearing aids when she went to bed early.

Her grandson, Jeff Elingson, who lives in Northwood, ran through downed trees and power lines to rescue his grandmother.

Johnson’s daughter, Arla Frigstad, who lives in Minneapolis-St. Paul, said Johnson’s house was destroyed. The only room with a roof still partially intact was Johnson’s bedroom.

Johnson’s children ordered her a pink T-shirt that says, “I slept through the Northwood Tornado, August 26, 2007.”

Information from: Grand Forks Herald,

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