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WASHINGTON, D.C.--The South Dakota Congressional delegation today sent the following letter to President Barack Obama expressing their support for South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard's recent request to the President to make available Individual Assistance, statewide Hazard Mitigation, and Small Business Administration disaster loans as part of the major disaster declaration issued on May 13, 2011, concerning the recent record flooding in South Dakota:

July 8, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

On behalf of the people of South Dakota, we write to express our support for Governor Dennis Daugaard's recent request that you make available Individual Assistance, statewide Hazard Mitigation, and Small Business Administration disaster loans as part of the major disaster declared on May 13, 2011.  This would provide resources necessary for individuals to deal with the continuous flooding situation along the Missouri River in our state.
One of the unique characteristics of the 2011 Missouri River flooding is the length of time it will last.  The Missouri River rose in late May, and the Army Corps of Engineers predicts that we will continue to see increased releases from the six dams along the Missouri River until well into the month of August.  Clearly, this is not a conventional flood event where waters quickly rise and recede.  As a consequence, many citizens are experiencing large scale disruption of normal community functions and services, which is having a traumatic impact on homeowners, businesses and the affected communities. 

As the governor's request indicates, 391 homes of the 400 inspected during the preliminary damage assessment are uninhabitable at this time due to damage from flooding and from the prolonged danger caused by this historic flooding event.  While the number of homes and individuals affected by flooding may seem low in comparison to flooding events in more populous states-and may appear on paper to reflect "scattered damages"-the fact is that, in a sparsely populated state like ours, the numbers reflect high concentrations of damages that indicate a greater need for federal assistance. For example, in Ft. Pierre, at least 185 households have evacuated, representing 23% of the households in Ft. Pierre, while in Dakota Dunes, 482 households have evacuated, representing 49% of that community. 

In light of these considerations, we respectfully urge you to expeditiously review our governor's request and make available those additional forms of disaster assistance referenced above.  We also ask that you instruct federal agencies to expedite delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which South Dakota would be eligible based upon such a declaration. 

We would be pleased to offer any assistance that you may require in fulfilling this request, and we thank you for your consideration of this important matter.  Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if we can provide you with additional information.


Tim Johnson

John Thune                              

Kristi Noem