As 2011 comes to a close and North Dakota looks back on a year of unprecedented statewide flooding, the federal government has provided more than $495.5 million to help the state and its residents recover.
Aid for Individuals, Families and Businesses
Aid was made available June 24 to individuals, families and businesses in two counties: Ward County, including Minot, where the Souris River – also known as the Mouse River -- inundated thousands of homes and other structures; and Burleigh County, including Bismarck, where neighborhoods for miles along the Missouri River were swamped. By Aug. 4, the aid had been extended to seven additional counties and Spirit Lake Nation.
By the Nov. 21 end of the registration period, 10,284 residents and businesses had applied for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Near the six-month anniversary of the declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $245.8 million for 2,386 low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations.
FEMA has approved $94.9 million for rental assistance, home repair or replacement, and other serious disaster-related needs. In one of the larger direct housing operations in the agency’s history, FEMA provided temporary housing units for 2,046 families at private and group sites and within existing mobile homes parks almost exclusively in Ward County.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance, which is funded by FEMA and administered by Job Service North Dakota, has disbursed $2.2 million to residents who have been unemployed because of the flood disaster. More than $3.3 million has been allocated for a state-managed crisis counseling program to help individuals and communities cope with after-effects of the disaster.
Assistance for state and local governments
Starting as early as March, FEMA was collaborating with the state in monitoring potential flooding. It originally appeared the worst flooding might occur in the Red River Valley in the southeast corner of the state. As the situation escalated, an Emergency Management declaration was issued April 7, enabling FEMA to provide equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the flooding.
On May 10, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for the state for Public Assistance, including emergency services, debris removal, and repairs to infrastructure, including roads, bridges and schools. The original declaration included 39 counties and by Aug. 4 the assistance had been extended to 44 counties and four Indian reservations.
To date, more than $149.5 million million has been obligated for 2,358 infrastructure projects. Of that amount, $54.6 million is for roads and bridges throughout the state, $36.1 million is for emergency protective measures and $35.1 is for repairs to public buildings. A large portion of the amount for public buildings, approximately $30 million, has been approved for Minot schools. The funds are designated for replacing two schools and for activities ranging from emergency protective measures to building repairs and temporary classroom...