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Federal assistance approved for Colorado areas recovering from severe summer storms

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(The Center Square) – Colorado areas affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes in June will be eligible for federal financial assistance.

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster exists in the state and ordered federal government services to supplement assistance being provided by state, tribal and local governments.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis declared a disaster emergency on July 21 to activate the State Emergency Operations Plan. The order included $50 million to pay for the state’s response, management, mitigation and other recovery efforts.

In addition to state, tribal and local governments, some private nonprofit organizations will be eligible for federal funding on a cost-sharing basis, according to a media release from the Biden administration. The emergency work and repair will be focused on Cheyenne, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Kit Carson and Lincoln counties.

“I applaud the White House for this action and thank the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and local officials who worked closely together to assess damages and determine if and when a county needs support from the state or federal government to enhance their efforts in providing support for Colorado communities,” Polis said in a statement on Friday.

During a three-day period, Colorado experienced 41 tornadoes of various intensities, according to Polis’ written order. He verbally declared a disaster emergency on June 22 due to storms and flooding in El Paso, Elbert, Lincoln and Washington counties. He verbally extended the order on July 18 after additional storms affected Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Douglas, Kit Carson and Logan Counties.

“Tornadoes were identified along the Front Range, including one in Douglas County, which toppled an estimated 16,000 trees in business and residential areas along an 8.4-mile path,” the written order stated. “Multiple buildings were damaged by the strong winds and floodwater.”

The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is coordinating efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the impacted counties.

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