FEMA looking at infrastructure damage caused by flooding

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Spring flooding heavily damaged roads and bridges in South Dakota. On Monday, FEMA looked at those areas to see if the state can secure federal funding to help recovery. 

Minnehaha County and the City of Sioux falls are conducting a joint preliminary damage assessment of public infrastructure and response costs associated with March flooding the week of May 13th throughout Minnehaha County and the State of South Dakota. FEMA previously looked at homeowner damage.    

This bridge at the Outdoor Campus in Sertoma Park remains closed. Deemed unsafe, the City of Sioux Falls will have to replace the $300,000 structure. It’s far from the only damage left behind by spring storms. 

“The destructive force of water is amazing. Just looking at what happened just in this event. I mean, we’re almost two months away from it and we’re still looking at things,” Kelby Mieras, park operations manager, said. 

Mieras says workers have cleaned up all of the debris, but FEMA is looking at damages to areas like this to get a preliminary assessment. That information could be key in getting a disaster declaration. 

“It would definitely go a long way in the funding for repairs,” Mieras said. 

“There was an incredible amount of flood damage across a number of counties and in South Dakota and several tribal reservations,” Lynn Kimbrough, FEMA External Affairs, said. 

Though Kimbrough says agents are here to gather data, she knows these efforts go beyond facts and figures.

“We take this very seriously, because there are people who have never experienced anything like this. There are people who have been impacted in such a way. For them, there will be a time before the flood and a time after the flood,” Kimbrough said. 

All of this data will go to Governor Kristi Noem and the state, and then it’ll be up to them to request disaster declaration. The federal government to approve or deny the request for federal funding. 

Two months later, and the area is still trying to bounce back. Mieras hopes FEMA’s visit will be one more step toward recovery. 

“Some of the stuff, we need to get it repaired and get it back to normal so we can continue on,” Mieras said. 

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