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President Obama signs disaster relief for seven Idaho counties hit with floods

President Obama signs disaster relief for seven Idaho counties hit with floods

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
July 27, 2010

Flooding in seven Idaho counties in early June now rates as a federal disaster.  President Barack Obama Thursday declared a major disaster exists thanks to the flooding, which opens the door for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offset some of the costs of disaster cleanup and emergency services and repairs.

The state and local governments can receive payment from FEMA to cover the cost of replacing damages roads, bridges, schools, and other public property, as well as costs for saving lives and removing debris from public areas.

“The declaration does not have a dollar amount attached to it,” said Robert Feeley, a spokesman with the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security, the state’s emergency management agency.  “Right now, we don’t have an idea of what the costs of the disaster are going to look like until FEMA’s going to come to town.”  Feeley said FEMA officials should visit Idaho within the next week to continue the recovery process.

The severe weather and flooding hit Lewis, Idaho, Adams, Valley, Washington, Gem, and Payette counties from June 2 – 10.  A state disaster declaration was declared June 8.  Disaster declarations generally work their way up from the local level to the state and then national level, opening up more funding for repairs and related expenses.

Feeley said that FEMA officials visited the affected counties earlier this month, and saw enough damage warranting the president’s declaration.  He said that while the total cost of the flooding isn’t yet known, it needed to exceed $2 million to qualify for the federal disaster designation.

“It’s tough to tell when we’ll have a good solid figure on this (cost), but hopefully it will be in the near future,” Feeley said.

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