BISMARCK, N.D. -- Farmers, ranchers and rural residents who have been affected by water damage should consider registering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for financial assistance, according to federal and state disaster recovery officials.
"Farmers and ranchers need to closely examine their situation," said Adjutant General Keith D. Bjerke, state coordinating officer for the disaster recovery effort and a former farmer himself. "We may be able to help with loss of income because of flooded fields, and with home repairs, including any damage to private access roads, septic systems, and wells."
Assistance available to farmers and ranchers as well as any individual affected by high water in one of the 34 declared counties and three reservations may include:
- Disaster unemployment assistance through the North Dakota Job Service for those who lost income because of the disaster, including farmers, ranchers, farm workers, migrant farm workers and other self-employed individuals;
- Assistance for continual basement flooding which may include installation of sump pumps, internal and external basement drains, gutters, drain spouts and extensions and the abandoning and filling in of basements;
- Decontamination of well systems, and pumping, repairing, or moving of septic systems;
- Grants and low-interest disaster loans for homes and personal property damaged as a result of the disaster and which is not already covered by insurance;
- Grants for mortgage and rental assistance to homeowners and renters who have lost income as a result of the disaster, and because of that face foreclosure or eviction.
Farmers and ranchers may also be eligible for low-interest loans through the USDA Farm Service Agency.
"A variety of other services are also available through other agencies," said Lesli A. Rucker, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "These services include crisis counseling, legal advice, help with insurance problems, and transportation."
Individuals who have suffered losses and have not yet applied for disaster assistance are encouraged to call FEMA's toll-free number at 1-800-462-9029 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). For individuals who have already applied for disaster assistance, they can obtain information on these services by calling 1-800-525-0321.