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FEMA rejects request for individual assistance for Delmont tornado

(Republic file photo)

DELMONT -- South Dakota officials said the Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected the state’s request for aid to help Delmont residents impacted by a tornado in May.

On May 10, Mother’s Day, an EF-2 tornado ripped through the small Douglas County town, injuring nine people and damaging or destroying 84 structures.

According to a press release from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, the denial came in a letter from FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who said damage to homes and businesses fell short of the severity and magnitude to warrant federal assistance.

Delmont Mayor Mae Gunnare said the decision is disappointing, but she isn’t surprised.

“Now, I’m going to look for help from our fellow South Dakotans and Midwesterners,” Gunnare said. “We’ve had great assistance so far, and I’m hoping for the resilience of South Dakotans to come through right now.”

Gov. Dennis Daugaard also called the denial disappointing, but said South Dakotans will continue to work together to help individuals and the Delmont community recover over the coming weeks and months.

"Here in South Dakota, we all know how much the May tornado impacted the residents of Delmont, Douglas County and Charles Mix County,'' said Tina Titze, director of the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management, in a press release. "Unfortunately, FEMA declined to find that we meet their requirements for Individual Assistance programs.”

The last time South Dakota qualified for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance was in 2011 for damages to homes and businesses caused by Missouri River flooding.