SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The derecho that passed through eastern KELOLAND on May 12th caused widespread damage to homes, farms, and power lines, while uprooting trees and lives. Tuesday, as the cleanup continues, the Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners took another step toward recovery.
This month’s derecho left its mark on communities across eastern South Dakota.
“I’ve been a cop for a long time and I’ve never seen anything like that, and everybody I talk to who saw that wall of dirt and it turned to midnight in the middle of the afternoon all said the same thing, they’ve never seen it like that before,” Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.
Tuesday, the Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners approved a disaster declaration.
Declaring a disaster is step one. Now, the total damage has to exceed $4.10 per capita, or more than $800,000 in Minnehaha County.
“We’re not at that threshold yet, and just to clarify, this is for public infrastructure, so roads, bridges, buildings, the costs cities have incurred to clean up the debris,” Director of Emergency Management Jason Gearman said.
Gearman says the county is about halfway there, but is still awaiting final numbers from the City of Sioux Falls.
“The separate part is the individual assistance,” Gearman said.
Individuals will have a tougher time qualifying for assistance due to insurance coverage.
“We still are encouraging people to call in with their individual assistance, with their damage, to the 211 system,” Gearman said.
Chairman Cindy Heiberger was among the residents who was without power after the storm.
“We didn’t have electricity until, some of us, Saturday night and some even on Monday across the county and so if you don’t have electricity you maybe didn’t hear you’re supposed to call 211,” Minnehaha County Commissioner, Chairman Cindy Heiberger said.
She says the process is quick and easy, and important.
“Just encourage anybody you know or your neighbors or put on your Facebook page to try and get the word out,” Heiberger said.
Sheriff Milstead and the Minnehaha County Highway Department each made a point to thank local farmers for their help in clearing debris from roads.
If you have storm damage that has not been reported, you’re encouraged to call the 211 Helpline.