Montana’s U.S. senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced that FEMA has responded to their calls to quickly provide federal disaster assistance to Montanans – including those in Valley County – affected by historic flooding in May and June.
In response to Baucus and Tester’s July 2 letter to FEMA, President Barack Obama issued a major disaster declaration Monday for the state of Montana, the senators said. The announcement triggers the release of federal disaster funds to help rebuild and repair infrastructure damaged or destroyed by flooding in 12 Montana counties and three Indian reservations.
FEMA’s kickoff meeting in Glasgow is Wednesday, July 24, at 9 a.m. in the Community Room of the Valley County Courthouse. FEMA and state officials will explain the procedure to begin applying for federal disaster assistance.
“While we still have a long way to go, this news will jump start efforts to help Montana families and businesses rebuild. We’ll keep the pressure on so that communities devastated by flooding have the resources they need to rebuild roads, bridges and vital water systems so communities can get back on their feet,” said Baucus.
“Lending a hand in times of need is not just a Montana tradition, it’s an American one as well,” Tester said. “These resources will help Montana communities rebuild the roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure we need so Montana comes back stronger than ever.”
In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Baucus and Tester highlighted the severity and widespread nature of the damage caused by spring storms. Damage to road systems in the 12 counties is estimated at $2.8 million. Additionally, the drinking water system’s intake at the Fort Peck Reservation has failed because of flood water, and Rocky Boy’s Reservation has lost access to potable water because of damage to a section of a water line.
The major disaster declaration covers federal emergency assistance for Blaine, Chouteau, Custer, Dawson, Fergus, Garfield, Hill, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Rosebud and Valley counties, as well as Rocky Boy’s, Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Indian reservations.