On Sunday, residents of Hugo, Minnesota were hit hard by an EF-3 class tornado, with gusts of wind at the speed of 136-165 mph. Tragically, a 2 year boy was killed during the disaster. The initial assessment of damage to personal property is estimated to be $25 million. Fifty homes are so devastated that they are uninhabitable. Another 159 homes suffered tornado damage, and 61 homes suffered storm-related damage. The local communities estimate that they will have substantial clean-up costs as well.
While tragedies like this are never anticipated, it’s how we react that’s important. I issued a statement yesterday informing the media should Governor Pawlenty make a disaster declaration, I would do all I could to ensure that the full array of federal aid and resources are available to the families, businesses, farms, and communities affected.
I have sent a letter to both the Administrators of FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration asking that should the threshold be met and the Governor request federal aid their offices be prepared to step in promptly.
To give you an update on where we stand with funding, Gov. Pawlenty’s office contacted my office this morning to tell us that after an examination of the area, the damage sustained to public infrastructure does not meet the threshold for FEMA assistance because most of the damage was to personal properties and insured by private insurance. SBA can separately declare a federal disaster because they have different thresholds for assistance, and it remains unclear as to whether they will reach those benchmarks.
The greatest public need at this time is for clean-up assistance. For those wishing they could lend a hand, please consider a donation to help Hugo’s families.
WCCO has compiled a resource guide for those looking to contribute to the cause:
The city of Hugo has opened a relief fund. Monetary donations may be sent to:
Lake Area Bank
1400 East Highway 96
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Monetary donations are also being accepted by U.S. Banks. You can drop off donations at any U.S. Bank. For information you can call (651) 429-7758.
Volunteers at the Hugo Fire Department are accepting donations of water, food, personal care, bedding and other items for the storm victims.
The Hugo Fire Dept.
5323 140th St. N.
Hugo, MN 55038
Donations are also being accepted at the Hugo Public Works Department.
Public Works Department
6900 137th Street
Hugo, MN 55038
The city is asking for volunteers to help clean up the area affected by Sunday's tornado. As of this writing, the city's web site only says volunteers should plan on meeting at 8 a.m. this coming Saturday, May 31. A meeting place has not been set, but will be posted on their site in the future.
The Red Cross Service Center opened at 9 a.m. Monday in Hugo at Oneka Elementary School. The Red Cross is also asking for emergency donations. They may be made either online by clicking here, or checks may also be sent to:
Twin Cities Red Cross
PO Box 1450
Minneapolis, MN 55485-5597
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.