Environment News Service (ENS)

Environment News Service (ENS)

Nevada stormwater flood declared an official disaster


Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

President Bush has approved Nevada's request for a major disaster declaration for Lyon County. This declaration provides federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe winter storms and flooding.

The storms caused a rupture in a levee near the California border that sent water gushing into the town of Fernley. The flood cut off as many as 400 homes and forced about 100 residents to flee to the local high school for shelter, officials said.

'This federal funding will begin providing immediate assistance to Fernley residents whose homes sustained damage during the flood,' said Governor Gibbons. 'I thank President Bush and FEMA for their partnership in our efforts to address the needs of Fernley residents impacted by the recent flood and for their prompt response to the state's request for a major disaster declaration.'

The Truckee Canal - which carries water through Fernley from the Truckee River to the Lahontan Reservoir - is now being diverted.

More storm activity is expected in the area this week, but the canal is not expected to be further impacted due to the closure of the diversion and check structures, officials said.

The Truckee Carson Irrigation District temporarily repaired the Fernley levee breach in consultation with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, with ongoing minimal seepage of two gallons per minute reported.

In many areas, flood waters have receded with standing water up to two feet deep remaining in about 10 percent of the affected areas.

Nevada has provided two truckloads of water, 22,000 MREs, 500 blankets, and 500 cots. Power has been restored to all but 50 homes and 59 homes require inspection before restoration of natural gas service.

The disaster declaration provides public assistance for damaged infrastructure, including buildings and roads, individual assistance for those who are underinsured or without any insurance, and assistance for state hazard mitigation.

Individual assistance 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 losses incurred by the recent flooding.

'I have spoken with many displaced residents who are concerned because they do not have insurance coverage to provide the funds needed to repair the damage to their homes. I am pleased to announce that those residents will receive the assistance they need to repair damage sustained during the flood,' said the governor.

Federal funding is also available to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for repair or replacement of damaged infrastructure.

The disaster declaration will also provide funding for statewide hazard mitigation measures. This will allow the state to expand on current prevention and preparedness practices.

'As we recover from the severe winter storms and devastating flood in Fernley, the state of Nevada Department of Emergency Management continues to bolster prevention and preparedness efforts to ensure that we stand ready for any future emergency incidents,' said the governor.

Steve Preston, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, today announced that low-interest disaster loans are now available to Nevada residents and businesses because of the disaster declaration.

'We look forward to working with the State of Nevada to make our loans available to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes affected by the severe winter storms and flooding,' said Preston. 'We will be swift in our efforts to help Nevada disaster victims rebuild their homes and businesses. Once local recovery facilities are identified in the declared areas, SBA officials will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants.'

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of any size and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $1.5 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

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