Minnesota asks for U.S. aid for flood disaster

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 29, 2012 8:57 PM
Minnesota asks for U.S. aid for flood disaster

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Friday asked the federal government for disaster aid following flooding that caused more than $100 million in road and infrastructure damage that could rank it as one of the state's worst-ever disasters.

Federal officials have been doing damage assessments in 13 Minnesota counties and the Fond du Lac tribal nation after the deluge that struck the city of Duluth and other areas last week.

In Dayton's letter seeking federal help, the Democrat wrote: "The impacts of this disaster, which are still being assessed, are...public infrastructure damage costs that could make this the second largest disaster in Minnesota history."

So far, the damage to roads, bridges, electrical systems and other infrastructure has been estimated at $108 million, the letter said. The entire network of roads in Jay Cooke State Park was washed out, and the park closed indefinitely.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported in Minnesota from the flooding.

The request for a federal disaster declaration included the 13 Minnesota counties and three tribal nations in the state, the Fond du Lac, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Grand Portage tribal nation.

If President Barack Obama grants the request, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will fund 75 percent of approved costs of debris removal and repairs.

The flooding also affected neighboring Wisconsin where Governor Scott Walker on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for three counties in the northwest corner of the state.

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No deaths were reported from the flooding in these counties. Three people died in Clark County to the south late at night last week when vehicles entered a ravine created where a road washed out.

Hundreds of residents in northeastern Minnesota were forced from their homes because of flooding last week that ripped up dozens of roads, caused mudslides and sinkholes and killed a dozen animals at the Lake Superior Zoo.

(Reporting By Andrew Stern; Editing by Greg McCune and Carol Bishopric)