State-federal flood recovery office opens in Duluth

Inspecting a basement
Jenny Kane, an all hazard planner with the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, surveys Faith Garramone's basement Tuesday in Duluth's Irving neighborhood. Garramone's basement had 48 inches of water. Kane and officials from FEMA were compiling data on flood damage for a preliminary damage assessment that would be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton.
Derek Montgomery for MPR

Federal and state officials opened a joint field office in Duluth on Thursday to manage the recovery from flooding in northeast Minnesota one month ago.

The office will be staffed by around 100 FEMA officials as well as state officials from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. They will work with officials from cities, counties, townships and tribes on their applications for federal aid to repair public infrastructure damaged in the flooding.

Local governments can be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the cost of those projects, says FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Mark Neveau.

"A lot of the costs that are borne by some of the communities were response costs, paying for police and fire; some of that reimbursement will come fairly quickly, because they already have that calcuated," Neveau says.

State Coordinating Officer Kris Eide says the recovery process can last a while. "It can take for some pieces of this, a month or two, some pieces, a year or two," Eide says.

This week FEMA also wrapped up a separate assessment of damage to private property in the area. Eide says if federal indivdiual assistance is awarded, FEMA will establish disaster recovery centers in the area to help home and business owners apply for help.

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