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 declare the South Dakota counties of Beadle, Codington, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, Hughes, and Kingsbury as major disaster areas. This declaration would greatly assist in recovery efforts from strong summer thunderstorms that resulted in flooding, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds, occurring from June 19, 2013 through June 29, 2013.
July 24, 2013
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
As members of the South Dakota congressional delegation, we write to express our full support of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s request for a major disaster declaration covering the South Dakota counties of Beadle, Codington, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, Hughes, and Kingsbury. This declaration would greatly assist in recovery efforts from strong summer thunderstorms that resulted in flooding, tornadoes, and high-velocity straight-line winds, occurring from June 19, 2013 through June 29, 2013.
The Governor’s disaster declaration request explains that the storms caused significant damage to public infrastructure in the affected counties, as well as the tragic loss of one life and severe injury of another. The storms damaged public road systems, culverts, private homes, and other public facilities. It also posed challenges to farmers that were unable to access their fields. Your approval of the request for a disaster declaration will accelerate recovery in the affected region.
We applaud the work of federal, state, county, and local entities in response to the recent severe weather events. Their efforts helped to mitigate the immediate impacts of the storm. However, given that two major disasters have been declared in the last two months in South Dakota, state and local resources are already stretched thin. As the Governor indicates, the storm is of “such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments, and supplemental federal assistance is necessary.” This determination was reached on the basis of preliminary damage assessment completed by the state in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
We respectfully request that you declare a major disaster for relevant areas of our state and that you instruct federal agencies to expedite the delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which the state is eligible based upon that declaration. We would be pleased to offer any assistance that you may require in fulfilling this request.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if we can provide you with additional information.
Senator Tim Johnson
Senator John Thune
Representative Kristi Noem