FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gov. Heineman Requests Federal Disaster Declaration
(Lincoln, Neb. - Photos ) Gov. Dave Heineman today submitted a request to President George W. Bush for a federal disaster declaration following several weeks of severe storms that have produced tornadoes, high winds, lightning, and flooding throughout much of Nebraska.
Damage assessments from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) indicate at least $22 million in damages to public infrastructure.
Gov. Heineman said, “I know these past few weeks have been tiring and challenging, and I want to thank Nebraskans for hanging in there. Everywhere I’ve visited, I’ve seen residents turning out to help their neighbors clean up, knowing the next storms weren’t far away. Their resilience is what has impressed me the most and I want to acknowledge the perseverance of everyone who has been touched by these storms.”
The Governor’s request includes damage from spring storms beginning May 22. The 53 counties included are Adams, Blaine, Boone, Boyd, Brown, Buffalo, Burt, Butler, Cass, Chase, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dawson, Douglas, Fillmore, Frontier, Furnas, Gage, Garfield, Gosper, Hall, Hamilton, Hayes, Holt, Howard, Jefferson, Keya Paha, Lancaster, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Merrick, Nance, Otoe, Phelps, Platte, Polk, Red Willow, Richardson, Rock, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward, Sherman, Stanton, Thayer, Thomas, Thurston, Webster, and York.
Assessments are still being finalized in several counties. Those that qualify will be added to the Governor’s disaster request in the coming weeks.
The request includes funding for repairs to roads, bridges, public power infrastructure and other utilities, schools, parks, and other government facilities, as well as debris removal and other emergency response activities.
In addition to the request covering public infrastructure and assistance, the Governor is requesting federal assistance for individual property owners based on damage assessments completed so far.
Teams with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been conducting damage assessments to privately-owned property for the past several weeks. Assessments have been completed in 21 counties with an estimated $4.5 million in damages to private property.
NEMA Assistant Director Al Berndt said, “A request does not guarantee that all counties will qualify for federal individual assistance. Based on the damage FEMA teams have seen, we believe several counties will qualify for individual assistance programs but we will have to wait for a final determination to know what the difference between repair costs and insurance coverage might be, and whether that is enough for individual property owners to qualify for federal assistance.”
Counties included in the Governor’s request for individual assistance include: Brown, Buffalo, Butler, Colfax, Dawson, Douglas, Gage, Hamilton, Howard, Jefferson, Kearney, Knox, Nemaha, Platte, Polk, Richardson, Rock, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward, and Thayer Counties.
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