State of Emergency in 35 Counties, Who Gets Help?

Created: 06/19/2014 10:30 PM
By: John Doetkott

After storms swept across the state this week, Governor Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency in 35 counties on Thursday.
Locally that includes Freeborn, Mower, Olmsted, Dodge, and Steele counties, with the designation making a wide range of state resources available.
With many roads and bridges damaged throughout the area, local communities are thankful the emergency declaration will likely provide some needed financial assistance.
"This is probably going to be a public assistance event,” said Rich Hall, director of Emergency Management in Freeborn County. “For a lot of areas it opens up some funding for helping fix roads and infrastructure and that type of thing."
But for homeowners who saw their roofs damaged or their basements flooded, the emergency declaration might not make much difference.
Officials said damage costs have to reach a certain threshold to qualify for state funding, and there simply might not be enough widespread damage to reach that level.
"We can assist them with things like clean-up kits and that type of thing locally through the Salvation Army or Red Cross,” Hall said. “But I don't know if we're going to hit that threshold for individual assistance."
But homeowners aren't the only ones worried about the cost of damages.
"[There’s] a lot of crop damage, a lot of standing water in the fields,” Hall said. “It's going to be devastating again to the farmers as well."
"Right now I'd estimate probably one to five percent of the crop has been lost to the water,” said Andy Linder, a financial services officer for AgStar. “That's not including what we've had damage to from hail and wind."
Linder said it will be difficult to judge the full extent of the damage until the water recedes, but until then, farmers will hold out hope that the worst of the damage is behind them.
"We could miss this storm tonight and I think a lot of people would be happy,” Linder said. “But we take what we get, that's the nature of farming."
Officials in Freeborn County said they are currently working to calculate the total cost of the damage to figure out if they'll qualify for state aid.

Photo: ABC 6 News