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Trump approves SD September disaster declaration for flooding, tornadoes

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The bridge along 406th Avenue, also called Red Arrow Road, between 259th and 260th streets was wiped out by the flooding last week southwest of Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Gov. Kristi Noem said Monday that President Donald Trump approved a presidential disaster declaration for September storm damage done in South Dakota, including the three tornadoes that struck Sioux Falls and the extreme flooding in communities such as Madison and Mitchell.

The declaration, which includes both individual and public assistance, covers the period of Sept. 9-Sept. 26. Preliminary assessments total at least $17 million in requested federal assistance.

“This is good news for South Dakota communities, and I’m grateful to President Trump for responding so quickly,” Noem said. “Every aspect of our South Dakota way of life has been impacted by this year’s devastating storms. We have a long way to go, but this will be helpful as we rebuild and recover.”

Total individual assistance damage is estimated at more than $8 million. Counties included in the request for individual assistance are Brookings, Charles Mix, Davison, Hanson, Hutchinson, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, Moody, and Yankton, and the Flandreau Santee Indian Reservation and Yankton Indian Reservation. FEMA’s Individual Assistance program provides grants to individuals and families for expenses related to home repairs and rental assistance.

Total public assistance damages are estimated at more than $8.8 million. Counties included in the request for public assistance are Aurora, Brookings, Brule, Charles Mix, Davison, Douglas, Gregory, Hanson, Hutchinson, Kingsbury, Lake, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Turner, Union, and Yankton and the Yankton Indian Reservation and Flandreau Santee Indian Reservation. FEMA’s Public Assistance program reimburses eligible state and local governments, and some non-profit entities, for damage to publicly owned infrastructure.

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FEMA officials, who are already in South Dakota working on federal disaster declarations from earlier this year, will announce more information about the disaster declaration and meeting with affected entities in coming weeks. In October, FEMA officials were in Mitchell and Davison County conducting preliminary damage assessments to prepare for for a potential disaster declaration.

The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management is the lead state government agency for disaster recovery. The office said business owners, homeowners and renters can begin applying for assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 or online at disasterassistance.gov.

South Dakota has now received four disaster declarations this year. The state received a federal disaster declaration in June for severe winter storms and flooding that occurred March 13-April 26 and that affected 58 counties and three reservations. A second disaster declaration for the period of May 26-June 7 was approved in September for flooding and storms that occurred in 25 counties and two reservations. The third declaration was for damage done by severe storms and flooding that occurred June 30-July 21 in six counties and two reservations.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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