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FEMA aid approved for 22 Minnesota counties

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(The Center Square) – More than a quarter of Minnesota counties have been approved for federal emergency aid, with 20 more potentially receiving aid in the future.

FEMA approved a disaster declaration for 22 counties following a week of flooding across the southern half of the state. With federal aid, local governments can be reimbursed for debris removal, rebuilding efforts and emergency services.

Gov. Tim Walz asked President Joe Biden for the declaration early last week. While 22 counties are currently approved for federal reimbursements, as many as 20 more could be approved over the next few days as damage estimates continue to be completed.

“I’ve seen the damage across our state firsthand – it’s going to take a united effort at every level of government to quickly rebuild and recover. This assistance is going to make all the difference in that recovery,” Walz said. “I’m grateful to our partners in the federal government for doing their part, just as Minnesotans have done theirs, filling tens of thousands of sandbags, checking in on their neighbors, and volunteering their time.”

The counties approved for federal aid include Blue Earth, Carver, Cass, Cook, Cottonwood, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Lake, Le Sueur, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, St. Louis, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Watonwan counties.

Blue Earth County has been making headlines over the past few days, as the site of the Rapidan Dam failure. The 114 year old structure was described as in “poor condition” since April 2023. Rising water levels and debris piling up caused the dam to partially collapse last week.

The statewide disaster was caused by historic flood levels along the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, as well as their tributaries. Estimates suggest that water levels should begin to recede over the next few days.

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