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Aerial views of dead cattle as a result of the October storm in western South Dakota. (S.D. Civil Air Patrol photo by Capt. David Small)

SD’s Ellsworth Air Force Base provides FEMA a staging area

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By Senior Airman Alystria Maurer

28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE — In an effort to supplement local recovery efforts in areas affected by severe weather conditions, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency on Dec. 2 established a joint field office at Ellsworth.

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FEMA staff — 75 in all operating out of space in the Air Force Financial Services Center — will be taking applications for public assistance from 14 counties and two tribes in the region that were impacted by winter storm Atlas, the storm that dumped more than 4 feet of snow in some parts of the Black Hills. The programs are designed to help South Dakota residents in different ways, ranging from reimbursing costs associated with debris removal and power line replacements to providing financial assistance to individuals who were unemployed due to the disaster.

The agency reports that 98 applicants, including state agencies, tribal and local governments and some private nonprofit organizations have submitted requests for public assistance for the state of South Dakota.

Further, FEMA adds that during the preliminary damage assessment, the state of South Dakota estimated approximately $38 million in damage, of which FEMA will pay up to 75 percent of eligible costs and the state an additional 10 percent.

FEMA says applicants could start receiving their funds as early as January, but assistance can vary case by case.

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