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Daugaard seeks disaster declaration for the state

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PIERRE (AP) -- Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Monday requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration to help South Dakota recover from an ice and snow storm that hit the state last month.

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Daugaard is requesting public assistance in seven counties: Douglas, Hutchinson, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, Turner and Shannon.

Damage to public and private nonprofit property is estimated at more than $11 million from the storm that dropped more than 26 inches of snow on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and left more than 115,000 without power in the southeastern position of the state.

"The tree debris covered public roads and sidewalks, which caused public health and safety issues because emergency traffic was unable to drive down the roadways and citizens were unable to evacuate their homes until the tree debris was cleared from roads," Daugaard wrote.

The governor said South Dakota is still recovering from Missouri River flooding in 2011, as well as seven Presidential disaster declarations in 2010.

"The costs associated with this disaster, combined with the last eight declarations, increases the state's financial stress if federal assistance is not provided," he wrote.

Daugaard's request is necessary for federal disaster funds to be made available to South Dakota. If President Obama grants the declaration, up to 75 percent of eligible costs could be reimbursed by the federal government.

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