Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has not yet requested a federal disaster declaration.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency follows a standard procedure in determining when and how disaster assistance is administered:Following a natural disaster, emergency managers at the city, county and state level take the lead in terms of damage assessments and protecting citizens.In some cases — as Dayton did Wednesday for Duluth — a state’s governor can declare a state of emergency, which activates emergency response plans and allows state resources to be used to help local communities.The governor can then also request support from FEMA to conduct preliminary damage assessments for both individual and public assistance. This request is not one for a disaster declaration, but one of the initial steps in the process to do so.Local, state and federal officials then conduct damage assessments to identify the extent of disaster damage. The teams look at the losses to households, businesses, public infrastructure and local government services as well as the impact to the community. All of the data collected and provided go back to the governor’s office.If the governor determines losses are beyond state and local capabilities, the governor can request a formal disaster declaration from FEMA. FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security then refer the request to the White House.President Obama can then choose to issue a major disaster declaration that includes any or all of the three forms of assistance:
1. Public assistance, which offers aid to both public and certain nonprofit services and helps in repairing or replacing damaged infrastructure and public facilities.
2. Individual assistance, which helps individuals, households and businesses recover from the disaster.
3. Hazard mitigation assistance, which provides funding for measures designed to reduce future losses to public and private property.
Source: FEMA, Region 5
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