Obama issues disaster declaration in response to southern MN flooding

WASHINGTON — President Obama today issued a major disaster declaration for southern Minnesota in the areas affected by storms and floods in late September.

The move clears the way for a special legislative session on flood response that had been postponed because the federal declaration had not yet been made. It is expected that lawmakers will consider and approve an $80 million flood relief package during the one-day special session.

From the White House:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Minnesota and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding beginning on September 22, 2010, and continuing.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in the counties of Blue Earth, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Mower, Murray, Olmsted, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, and Winona.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Lawrence Sommers as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area. FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

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