President declares northern Wisconsin disaster area after June 19-20 floodPresident Barack Obama on Thursday declared a major disaster exists in the state of Wisconsin and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding during the period of June 19-20.
President Barack Obama on Thursday declared a major disaster exists in the state of Wisconsin and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding during the period of June 19-20.
Federal funding also 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 Ashland, Bayfield, and Douglas and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties and Tribes within the State.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Kari Suzann Cowie as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
“President Obama’s disaster declaration will provide much needed financial assistance to county and tribal governments that have been hit hard by flooding this summer,” said state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar. “The declaration is important because it provides assistance that will cover up to 75 percent of repair costs for both state and local government facilities and infrastructure impacted by the storm. Local and state taxpayers simply would not have been able to afford to pay the costs associated with the storm damage on their own.”
The northern lawmaker said the decision by the Obama Administration to issue this declaration was in response to a very coordinated effort by the Walker Administration, Senator Herb Kohl, state legislative offices and local leaders who have all been working together to find assistance for these communities since the flooding occurred.
“Staff at both FEMA and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) deserve credit for working so well with local leaders to get the federal assessment done quickly and accurately,” said Jauch. “This really was a team effort from the local level, to the state level all the way to Washington.” FEMA concluded their assessment of the damage last week and verified that the storms caused $8.6 million of damage to public infrastructure and facilities. That put the state over the threshold of $7.7 million needed to qualify for assistance.
The Obama Administration has also announced that low interest loans are available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for small businesses and homeowners to make repairs or replace items damaged in the flooding. An office in the Superior Business Center, 1423 N. Eighth Street is open through Aug. 9 to assist business and homeowners with the application process.
“Natural disasters, more than any other event, define the important role of government, which is why it is essential that both the state and federal government do everything possible to provide the resources necessary for local governments to rebuild after storms,” Jauch said. “This declaration is a critical part of meeting that responsibility.”
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.