Gov. Noem requests two more disaster declarations

PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – Governor Kristi Noem has requested two additional, separate Presidential Disaster Declarations to help local government entities and certain private non-profits recover from property damage sustained during severe weather this spring and summer.

These requests are in addition to the disaster declaration that was approved June 7 by President Trump. That declaration covered both public property and individual damage that occurred during spring snowstorms and flooding between March 13 and April 26. Work on that disaster declaration continues with at least $43 million in damages being identified.

Both new requests are for FEMA assistance to help with repairs for damage done to public infrastructure. One declaration request states that a preliminary damage assessment indicated approximately $8 million in damage to public infrastructure in 25 counties and on two reservations. The preliminary damage assessment in the second declaration request is $3 million covering six counties and two reservations.

In her letters to President Trump, Noem wrote that an “overall large-scale pattern” from the end of April into June 2019 for one declaration and the other from June 30 to July 21, 2019 had included heavy snow and rains, flooding, tornadoes, and burdens on local government infrastructure such as highways, dams, and local energy systems. The Governor wrote that many areas statewide have dealt with multiple storms.

“South Dakota has been battered by storm after storm that continue to further erode our valuable public infrastructure,” Noem wrote in one letter.

The disaster request, which noted approximately $8 million in preliminary assessed damage, includes the counties of Aurora, Bennett, Brule, Butte, Campbell, Custer, Deuel, Fall River, Gregory, Haakon, Hamlin, Hanson, Jackson, Jones, Lyman, Meade, Mellette, Pennington, Sanborn, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Walworth, and Ziebach as well as the Cheyenne River and Rosebud Indian Reservations.

Counties part of the second request are Butte, Gregory, Kingsbury, Lawrence, Meade, and Tripp as well as the Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Indian Reservations.

Noem noted the severe weather impacted all parts of the state including agriculture, transportation, mail delivery and commerce. The governor said the impacts of the various storms will be felt for a long time and federal assistance is needed.

“This event, coupled with the previous disaster declaration, crippled the economics in the state and continues to cripple it for our agriculture community,” Noem wrote. “The impact of this event will be felt in these communities well into the future.”

South Dakota currently has seven open Presidential disaster declarations for other events and is working with FEMA on the recovery process for each of those disasters.