FEMA: White House still considering Gov. Gianforte’s disaster declaration request

FEMA
Department of Homeland Security personnel deliver supplies to Santa Ana community residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. Even before the storm hit on Sept. 20, Puerto Rico was in dire condition thanks to a decade-long economic recession that had left its infrastructure in a sorry state. (Carlos Giusti/AP)

FEMA: White House still considering Gov. Gianforte’s disaster declaration request

(The Center Square) – The White House is still considering Montana’s request for a major disaster declaration, a Federal Emergency Management Agency official told The Center Square.

In a letter last week to President Joe Biden, Gov. Greg Gianforte cited summer flooding that caused extensive infrastructure damage for the request.

“Due to a previous flooding event in April, the soil had a high concentration of water levels which caused the rain to not be absorbed and flash flooding to occur,” the governor wrote. “Repetitive flash flooding that occurred throughout the state was destructive and delayed initial recovery efforts.”

The request covers Carbon, Daniels, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Stillwater and Treasure counties.

“This request is still being considered at the White House and once that decision is made, the governor will be informed of the president’s determination,” FEMA Public Affairs Specialist Anthony R. Mayne told The Center Square.

Without a way to receive aid from the Public Assistance Program, Gianforte said affected areas could be vulnerable to “financial devastation from the next disaster.”

“Hundreds of miles of rural roads, bridges, culverts, etc., were affected,” Gianforte said in the letter. “The public infrastructure damage is extensive, and with repairs actively being completed, the unexpected cost to return to pre-disaster condition is beyond the capabilities of the local emergency fund and state disaster fund.”

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