Governor Rounds Office Announces Presidential Disaster Declaration Approved for South Dakota Reservations


I spoke with Terry Woster from Governor Rounds office this morning, regarding their press release that was issued yesterday (see below). 

The press release inadvertently left out Ziebach, Dewey & Corson Counties, which encompass Cheyenne River & Standing Rock Reservations. Woster did confirm both Reservations were included in the January disaster declaration request from the Governors office. Woster stated the declaration disaster request was for $23 million dollars. The Governors office is hopeful Obama’s administration will approve the request possibly this week, both requests were made on the same date. The request was for both public and private assistance. 

Unfortunately, there was a delayed response in the Governors office submitting the disaster declaration, for the Christmas blizzard that immobilized the entire state of South Dakota for several days. FEMA was in the field across South Dakota assessing damages, when the January ice storm and blizzard hit causing a crisis in many areas and devastating Cheyenne River Reservation. The damage assessment teams were delayed and rescue mode began. FEMA then returned into the field to assess damages from both disasters. The disaster declarations were completed and simultaneously submitted by Governor Rounds office and FEMA to Obama’s administration.

It was brought to the Governors office that these counties and Reservations were missing from their press release and Woster stated that they would be correcting their error immediately. 

More to follow as info comes in………. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CONTACT: Terry Woster, Public Information Officer, 605-773-3178 

Presidential Disaster Declaration Approved 

Pierre, S.D. – Gov. Mike Rounds says 12 South Dakota countiesand two American Indian reservations will get federal financial assistance to help recover from the Christmas blizzard of 2009. 

The assistance is made available through a Presidential Disaster Declarationsigned Tuesday by President Obama. 

“I’m pleased that federal aid has been promptly approved by the President,” Gov. Mike Rounds said. “Unfortunately, the area struck by the Christmas-period blizzard continues to be plagued by an excess of moisture. We are now monitoring rivers and streams that are at or near flood stage.” 

“We also hope to receive word shortly on our request for federal assistance due to the January ice storm and blizzard that hit many of these same areas,” the Governor added. 

Counties receiving cost-sharing for emergency work and repair or replacement of public facilities damaged by the Christmas blizzard include Campbell, Clay, Gregory, Jones, Lyman, Mellette, Perkins, Shannon, Todd, Tripp, Turner and Yankton, as well as the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. 

In addition, federal help is available to the state and eligible local and tribal governments for emergency protective measures, including snow removal costs. 

A disaster declaration authorizes the federal government to provide relief and recovery assistance for up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of damage to public infrastructure in the affected areas.  The state will cover 10 percent of the remaining eligible costs, and applicants are responsible for 15 percent of the costs.

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