BISMARCK, N.D. - Thousands of residents of Ward County, N.D., who were displaced by Souris River flooding, are spending the holidays in temporary housing units provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As the new year approaches, temporary housing units have been made available for all Ward County residents who qualify for the units and are ready to move in.
As of Dec. 19, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has identified 2,046 families – nearly all of them in Ward County – as qualifying for temporary housing units while they work on their permanent housing plans. Of those, those, 1,925, are currently being housed, 103 have returned to their repaired homes and 18 asked to move in after the holidays.
Among those who are housed, 998 families are at private sites – mainly on the same lots as their flood-damaged homes – 678 are at group sites, and 244 are in existing mobile home parks. The group sites include Virgil Workman Village in the Minot area with a capacity for 599 units in three phases, Recovery Village in the Minot area with a capacity of 200 and DeSour Valley Heights in Burlington with a capacity of 50.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) received 7,724 applications from the county before the Nov. 21 deadline, representing about 75 percent of the 10,284 for the state. Similarly, the $89.5 distributed to county residents for rental assistance, home repairs and other serious disaster-related needs represents 94 percent of the total $94.9 for the state.
The U.S. Small Business Administration approved more than $229.6 million for 2,095 low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profit organizations, representing 93 percent of the total $245.8 million approved for the entire state.
Some of the largest infrastructure projects are also in Minot. FEMA is providing $24.5 million to replace Erik Ramstad Middle School and $5 million to replace Lincoln Elementary School. FEMA has also provided more than $8.4 to the schools for activities ranging from emergency protective measures to building repairs and temporary classrooms. The temporary classrooms were provided within 10 days of the planned starting date for the school year.
Of a total of $149.5 million approved for infrastructure in the state, $51 million is for 428 projects in Ward County.
FEMA also engaged its Long Term Community Recovery team in Ward County. Members of the public participated in a series of meetings to voice their views about the future of their communities. The information gathered at the meetings was used to develop the “Souris Basin Regional Recovery Strategy,” which was adopted by Ward County and the cities of Burlington and Minot.