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Walz requests disaster declaration for 51 Minnesota counties

Freeborn County included on list

 

Damage in Freeborn County from severe weather this winter and spring have added up to over $3 million in estimates submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance reimbursement program.

Statewide, damages assessed by FEMA and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety add up to approximately $39.26 million.

Gov. Tim Walz requested a presidential disaster declaration for 51 counties and four tribal governments in Minnesota, including Freeborn County.

The threshold required for a federal declaration is $8 million.

“The state of Minnesota needs federal assistance to recover from this major natural disaster,” Walz’s letter read.

The letter cites the flooding events in March and the April winter storm as pieces of an “exceptionally difficult” transition from winter to spring in Minnesota.

Of the state’s verified damages, roads and bridges account for 39% and more than $15 million. Damage to utilities during the winter storm in April was $14,000.

In Freeborn County, 17 entities applied for public assistance from FEMA. Of the almost $3.12 million total, 70% — over $2.19 million — was submitted by Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services for public utilities. Additional categories applied for included emergency protective measures, roads and bridges, and public buildings and contents.

Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Director Rich Hall said the number could rise and more applicants could be added.

“Disaster assistance … is clearly warranted,” Walz’s letter to President Donald Trump read. “Without it, and given the already heavy burden of so many previous state and federal disasters, Minnesotans will struggle to return their communities to normalcy.”

 

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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