County declares flood emergency

Matthew Rhodes/Register: The Brookings County Commisison has declared a state of emergency following September flooding in the county. Above, water flows over roadways and up to mobile homes in Western Estates in Brookings in mid-September.

BROOKINGS – Brookings County commissioners on Tuesday declared a state of emergency, and the county has submitted a flooding damage claims report to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

An estimated $400,000 worth of damages were reported to county officials from townships and cities from the September flooding event in Brookings County.

Within the Sept. 9-26 timeframe, 174 individual claims were submitted to the Brookings County Development Department via 211.

Aurora, Elkton and Lake Campbell were the hardest hit areas, according to Department Director Bob Hill. Public, individual and business specific claims were submitted.

Hill said this specific timeframe is when the most flooding and damages occurred in Brookings County, and he’s never seen the amount of flooding Brookings County had in September during his career working for the county.

The intent of the report submitted to FEMA is to receive as much additional funding as possible for damaged buildings and infrastructure, Hill explained. There’s potential for public assistance, which applies to things like schools and infrastructure, and individual assistance with personal homes and property.

Small businesses will not receive aid from FEMA. Instead, they are to take a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration. 

Hill said that FEMA rarely gives aid to individuals who experience flood-related damages but do not themselves have flood insurance. He also said that those with flood insurance do not receive duplicated funding that would overlap the individual’s insurance but may instead receive additional funding in conjunction with the insurance claim.

Some of the damage in Brookings County last month was detrimental. Reports ranged from a few inches of water in basements to more than 4 feet of water in a resident’s home. The foundation of one house collapsed, and the structure was condemned as unlivable.

Once the report is accepted, FEMA will send officials to Brookings County to inspect and assess the submitted damages and create a more accurate estimate as to what damages can be covered. 

Hill said that if FEMA gives individual assistance to citizens of Brookings County, there is the chance for new submissions to be taken for those who have suffered damages from flooding.

Taking photos of the damages or leaving the damaged area as-is can be very helpful when FEMA officials assess the damages, he added. 

For more information visit fema.gov or call 211 or call the County Development Department at 696-8355.

Contact Matthew Rhodes at [email protected]

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