Federal officials have been meeting with state and local officials in South Dakota to coordinate the dispersal of emergency funding to help affected areas recover from a three-day snowstorm last month that caused millions of dollars in damage.
President Barack Obama earlier this month approved a disaster declaration for Douglas, Hutchinson, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, Shannon and Turner counties as well as the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives met with state officials in Pierre on Friday and will be meeting with local officials this week to discuss reimbursements for work done during and after the storm, the Capital Journal reported. That can include everything from infrastructure repairs to debris removal to police overtime pay. FEMA can cover 75 percent of the costs.
“They do what they do to respond to the emergency; we come in later and help with the financial burden,” FEMA spokesman Randy Welch said.
The storm April 9-11 dumped more than 2 feet of snow on the reservation, and an ice storm in eastern South Dakota knocked out electricity to about 115,000 people. Preliminary estimates show the storm caused more than $11 million in damage to public and private nonprofit property.
Heavy snows do not often cause enough damage to qualify as emergencies, according to Welch.
“Winter storms are an unusual cause for disasters. It’s usually the tornadoes, floods and hurricanes,” he said.
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