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July 01, 2014 05:00 PM

FEMA Assesses Flood Damage

Luverne, MN

FEMA has begun assessing the flood damage in southwest Minnesota. One of the hardest hit areas was Rock County.

Heavy rains in June washed out roads, bridges and even railroad tracks.  Now as the water recedes, the hope is that federal disaster dollars will soon be flowing into the state to help rebuild what mother nature washed away.

Dozens of officials from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management sat down with FEMA staff on Tuesday to go over the long list of damage to infrastructure with stacks and stacks of pictures.

"We've driven around the county some. It's the worst I've ever seen and I'm 73 years old, it's a lot of damage," Rock County Commissioner Ron Boyenga said.

Damage that has put people's lives and jobs on hold, including the railroad.

"One of their problems, they ship ethanol, they have ethanol cars loaded with ethanol and can't ship them, because the railroad is out on both sides of the ethanol plant," Boyenga said.

Even these pictures don't tell the whole story.

"The water has to go down so they can assess the damage, because we've hired some outside engineers to assess bridges and culverts, because there's some undermining of the culverts and bridges that you can't see right away," Boyenga said.

This meeting is the first step in making the long list of repairs to the county.

"It's a process and as soon as we gather all the information, we'll present it to the president and from there we'll see what happens," FEMA official Maria Pedron said.

In order to qualify for federal disaster dollars, the state of Minnesota needs at least $7 million in damage.  They're estimating Rock County alone has at least $4 million.

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