Russell Hathaway stands in front of his flood damaged home in Pacific Junction, Iowa, on April 19.

The number of Nebraska counties being declared eligible for disaster assistance continues to climb.

As of Tuesday, 81 of Nebraska’s 93 counties are eligible for aid.

The 12 that haven’t yet qualified are clustered in southwest Nebraska and west-central Nebraska. They are: Red Willow, Hitchcock, Dundy, Hayes, Chase, Perkins, Keith, McPherson, Arthur, Grant, Hooker and Thomas.

Nebraska encourages buying flood insurance

Nebraska officials on Tuesday issued a reminder that flood insurance can be a smart choice even for property owners who think they aren’t at risk.

Every year, more U.S. homes are damaged by flooding than any other type of natural disaster.

Standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding.

The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

More than 400 Nebraska communities participate in the program, and any resident of those communities can purchase the insurance, even if they don’t live in a high-risk flood zone. To buy flood insurance, contact your local insurance agent or call 800-427-4661 or visit fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program.

The program covers:

  • Up to $250,000 in building loss and up to $100,000 in loss of contents for single- to four-person residences.
  • Up to $500,000 in building loss and up to $100,000 in loss of contents for homes of five people or more.
  • Up to $500,000 in building loss and up to $500,000 in loss of contents for businesses.

Flood insurance typically involves a 30-day waiting period before it goes into effect.

For more information, visit FloodSmart.gov or call the flood insurance help desk at 800-427-4661.

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Check on permits before rebuilding

Nebraskans should check with local building authorities about local or state permits that may be necessary before starting reconstruction on flood-damaged homes, federal officials say.

These may include building permits, flood plain development permits and permits for repairs on septic systems.

The Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, at dnr.nebraska/gov/floodplain, lists local flood plain management contacts. If a lagoon was breached or a septic system became inundated, repairs may require permits from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Rebuilding a substantially damaged structure in a flood plain requires that the property be brought into compliance with local flood plain management regulations. Some options people have are:

  • Elevate the building to a height determined by local officials.
  • Relocate the structure outside the flood plain.
  • Demolish the home.
  • Flood-proof a nonresidential structure.

For more information or general flood insurance questions, contact your local flood plain administrator, the National Flood Insurance Program at (800) 427-4661 or your insurance agent.

Temporary flood-related jobs available

FEMA plans to hire Nebraskans and Iowans to help with recovery efforts. Anyone interested in temporary job opportunities should go to USAJOBS.gov and create a free account. The website is updated as new postings occur.

In the search box, type “FEMA Local Hire” and put “Nebraska” or “Iowa” in the location box. Iowa applications are due April 30.

A FEMA career fair for military veterans, spouses and working-age dependents will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday in Lincoln at the Veterans Affairs clinic’s auditorium, north entrance, 600 S. 70th St.

Nebraska Cattlemen provide financial help

The Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund is providing financial assistance on a statewide basis to needy or distressed cattle producers in Nebraska affected by the severe storm and flooding.

Eligible applicants include any cattle producer with an operation in a county or tribal area falling under an emergency or disaster declaration made by the Nebraska governor or Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.

Applicants must demonstrate need or distress as a result of the disaster by providing relevant asset information and certifying that their assets are not sufficient to rebuild.

Membership in Nebraska Cattlemen is not required to receive relief.

The total amount that each applicant will be eligible to receive will be determined after the application period ends.

Applications must be postmarked by May 31.

Completed applications must be mailed to 4611 Cattle Drive, Lincoln, NE 68521 or scanned and emailed to disasterrelief@necattlemen.org.

Mobile food pantry planned in Bellevue

The Food Bank for the Heartland will hold a free mobile food pantry Saturday for those affected by flooding in Sarpy County.

The food bank is partnering with Church of the Holy Spirit to host the pantry on Saturday, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the church, at 1305 Thomas Drive in Bellevue.

As of Tuesday, the Food Bank had helped provide more than 150,000 disaster relief meals.

About 7,000 to 8,000 pounds of food will be available for distribution and will include spaghetti, tomato sauce, rice, canned water and macaroni and cheese, along with perishable items, including apples, potatoes, onions, oranges and bakery items. Disaster pantry packs will also be offered. They are 15-pound prepacked boxes with nonperishable items.

Those attending are asked to bring boxes or bags to assist in carrying the food they receive. Volunteers will be available to help recipients. No identification is required to obtain food.