BISMARCK, N.D. -- The North Dakota Department of Human Services has been awarded a $371,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide counseling and other support services to those individuals who live in disaster-affected counties throughout the State.
Officials welcomed the additional resources and expressed concern that record rainfall, low commodity prices, crop disease and the accompanying economic hardship are undermining the well-being of many North Dakotans.
"Years of coping with difficult weather conditions are bound to have an impact on individuals' physical and emotional well-being," said Dr. Bonnie Selzler, state crisis counseling coordinator. "Throughout our state, particularly in some of our most rural areas, people are coping with loss. The last few years have been truly devastating for many."
Since Governor Ed Schafer sought and received a federal disaster declaration for 34 counties and three reservations, thousands of people have received financial assistance through federal/state disaster aid programs. Often, however, people need emotional support as well to help them deal with the stress of putting the pieces back together.
The FEMA grant dollars will bolster existing funding for disaster outreach, counseling, and a helpline that people can call at 1-800-472-2911.