WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared a major disaster Thursday for the State of Nebraska resulting from severe winter weather and massive flooding.
The declaration opens the door to federal aid to help state, tribal and local recovery efforts.
“Thank you to President Trump for his quick approval of Nebraska’s request,” Ricketts said Thursday in a statement. “Nebraskans have already been stepping up to begin the journey to recovering from the most widespread natural disaster in our state’s history. As we rebuild together, federal assistance is a key part of ensuring that we keep Nebraska strong and growing.”
A White House press release said the declaration will make federal funding available to individuals affected by the storm in the following counties: Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders and Washington.
That can include grants for “temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”
Federal funding also is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
And more funding is available for emergency work in dozens of other counties, as well as for the Santee Sioux Nation, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Sac and Fox Nation and Winnebago Tribe.
Additional areas could be designated for assistance after ongoing damage assessments are completed.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing- and speech-impaired.
The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
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The Elkhorn River at the Maple Street bridge is shown under water Monday March 18, 2019.
Floodwaters from the Elkhorn River have gone down and now expose a heavily damaged West Dodge Road.
Floodwaters from the Elkhorn River have started to recede, exposing a heavily damaged West Dodge Road.
The eastbound lanes of West Dodge Road just west of 228th Street show the damage done after floodwaters went down Monday.
A cow makes its way through floodwaters near Columbus, Nebraska, on Friday.
A shell of the Spencer dam is left on the Niobrara River.
Floodwaters engulf a farm near Missouri Valley on Friday.
Floodwaters flow over a railroad bridge near Arlington, Nebraska, on Friday.
Floodwaters make their way into North Bend, Nebraska, on Friday.
The Elkhorn River encroaches on Waterloo on Sunday.
A portion of Highway 92 has been destroyed by floodwaters in western Douglas County.
The Elkhorn River has covered several parts of western Douglas County.
A levee breach is shown on the Platte River near Ashland on Sunday.
Valley is shown inundated by floodwaters on Sunday.
An aerial view of Missouri Valley near the Interstate 29 exit on March 15.
An aerial view of Missouri Valley as floodwaters continue to impact the area on Friday.
A house is surrounded by floodwaters near Waterloo, Nebraska, on Friday.
Floodwaters envelop King Lake, Nebraska, on Friday.
Floodwaters swallow the town of Rogers, Nebraska, on Friday.
Water recedes in the town of Niobrara NE., on Friday March 15, 2019. The highway showing is Hwy 12 and Hwy 14 Junction.
The Morman bridge on Highway 12 between Niobrara and Niobrara State Park was wiped out by a flood.
A train is stopped on flooded tracks next to the Platte River near Cedar Creek, Nebraska, on Friday.
Interstate 29 surrounded by water near exit 56 in Council Bluffs, which is part of a section that is closed due to flooding on Friday.
Highway 75's northbound lane is closed because of flooding near Merritt's Beach RV Park on Friday.
A Nebraska National Guard helicopter flies over areas flooded by the Platte River near Columbus, Nebraska, on Friday.
Highway 81 covered in floodwaters south of Columbus, Nebraska, on Friday.
A Nebraska National Guard helicopter flies over flooded Waterloo on Friday.
Cars drive drive across a flooded Platte River on Highway 50 just north of Louisville on Friday, March 15, 2019. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Water covers a road near Valley, Nebraska on Friday, March 15, 2019. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A westward, aerial view of a flooded Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park on Friday.
An aerial view of Missouri Valley, Iowa, as floodwaters continue to impact the area on Friday.
The National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska was evacuated due to flooding on Friday, March 15, 2019. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A truck drives through a flooded road near the Platte River on Friday.