SD Congressional delegation tours storm damage, talks possible FEMA assistance

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s Congressional delegation is checking out storm damage, and members say federal help may play a factor in recovery efforts. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, along with Representative Dusty Johnson spent time in southeastern KELOLAND on Friday. They stopped at one of the hardest hit areas on West 41st Street in Sioux Falls.

A tornado tore apart Advance Auto Parts. If you look through where a wall used to be, you’ll notice item after item, neatly in place on the shelves, as if nothing happened. Perhaps it’s a good metaphor for the resiliency of people in South Dakota, who are still standing after the storms.

“I talked to a homeowner this morning and he said, ‘people keep telling me I’m a victim.’ And, he goes, ‘I don’t feel like a victim. I’m alive and I’m surrounded by people who want to help,'” Johnson said.

Despite that positive outlook, there’s a lot of damage and a lot of clean-up. That’s why Thune, Rounds, and Johnson are encouraging volunteers to step up.

“I know as you get a few days beyond this, sometimes it fades a little bit, but I know there’s still a big demand for volunteers, so I hope people will turn out,” Thune said.

Senator Rounds says FEMA may come into play to assist in rebuilding, and paying for some of the damages in the area.

“We’ve got a lot of damage to public property and whether or not FEMA will be called or not is up to the governor after they do their assessments here,” Rounds said.

“The delegation obviously will do anything we can to support at our level, but more than anything else, we want to be here to let people know we’re grateful for what they’re doing,” Thune said.

While people in the area wait for possible federal help to recover from tornadoes, winds and floods; the delegation is praising resilient communities that are working together to stand up to the tough days ahead.

“No community, no family gets to decide when they get hit by tragedy, but we get to decide who we get to respond to tragedy,” Johnson said.

There’s a lot of damage to take in, and even more to likely come from this week’s flooding. The delegation is also keeping an eye flooding in communities like Madison, Dell Rapids, and Brandon. There’s still a big need for people to help clean up. If you want to volunteer, you can call the Helpline at 211.

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