NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Areas around North Dakota are still recovering from the storms that happened in April.
The big storm event that kick-started this disaster was on April 22. Over that weekend the storm entered the state and took down nearly 7,000 power poles and 550 miles of line in the Western part of the state.
In the eastern part, the storm brought so much rain it kicked started major flooding. Flooding began to subside on May 25 marking the end of the disaster.
So the next question is what happens next?
“Once the disaster ended the next step is to do damage assessment,” said Justin Messner, Disaster Recovery Chief for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services. “So, we had a staff of about six guys working with each of the counties and all of the rural electrical cooperatives that had damages to get damage information and photos and site information so we could see if we had enough damage for a disaster declaration.”
Governor Doug Burgum submitted that declaration on June 23 and the declaration covers 40 counties.
As of right now, the team has tracked around $57 million of damages so far. Currently the NDDES is done surveying areas for damage and are taking on the task of looking to see what counties are eligible for the Public Assistance Program.
“About 40 million of that alone is just to damages in electrical infrastructure in the west,” said Messner. “But there is quite a bit more that is in the east to be accounted for. Now that the disaster is in place we will be working with each of the counties. “
Through the PA Program, FEMA can reimburse local governments, states, tribes and certain private non-profits for up to 75% of their eligible costs related to restoring public infrastructure to pre-disaster conditions.
Another program that NDDES is looking for eligible applicants is the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
“Whatever the disaster ends up costing we’ll get 20% of that set aside that we can use for mitigation projects that will help prevent damages,” said Messner.
Darin Hanson, Homeland security Division Director is proud of the progress his team has made.
“I’m really happy on how our team is performing,” said Hanson. “We got one of the best recovery teams in the nation. We are what we call state led which means we are not always waiting on the federal government to make decisions for us. So when we get that information we make the decision closer to those who are being impacted.
Hanson said one of the main things that makes North Dakota great is how the community comes together when a disaster happens.
“This certainly isn’t our first one We have had 40 presidential declared disasters since 1993, so we are getting a little too good at it but the people come together and help each other out.”
NDDES has coordinated the distribution of more than $2.4 billion in disaster recovery assistance to local,
tribal, and state entities since 1993.