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Presidential disaster declaration includes Stevens County

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news Morris, 56267

Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

MORRIS, Minn. -- President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster for severe storms and flooding in Minnesota from June 20 - 26, 2013 and included Stevens County.

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Preliminary assessments determined that the storms caused about $17.8 million in damage to public infrastructure across 18 counties.

Local municipalities will have access to money from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation programs to assist with recovery from severe storms that came through the area in June. The money can be used to cover uninsured eligible projects submitted by counties, cities, townships and certain private, not-for-profit organizations.

Other counties included in the disaster declaration are Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Swift, Traverse, and Wilkin Counties.

Rep. Jay McNamar said he is happy to see government stepping up to help these communities.

"These counties have been hit hard," said McNamar. "Our district was hit probably as hard, or harder, than any district in the state."

Bill Hirte, a public assistance officer with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management division (HSEM), will visit each of the affected counties the week of Aug. 5 for an applicant briefing to begin the process for applying for disaster relief.

At a preliminary damage assessment in July local representatives reported nearly $500,000 in damages from the storm. This information was combined with damage reported in other counties to prepare a request for a federal disaster declaration.

Washington will cover 75 percent of approved costs. State and local governments will be responsible for the remaining 25 percent. Damage to most private property would not be covered.

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