Federal funds to assist counties with flood efforts

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Federal funding is on the way to assist with recovery efforts from the flooding that wreaked havoc on North Idaho in March.

Gov. Butch Otter announced on Thursday that President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration for eight North Idaho counties, including Kootenai, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities recover from flooding that occurred March 6-28.

The estimated damages in those counties is more than $9.6 million.

Federal funds will be used to repair or replace disaster-damaged public infrastructure and for mitigation efforts to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property.

"I have been traveling around the state surveying flood-related damages since January, and I can tell you the worst is not over," Otter said. "As the record snowpack continues to melt, communities throughout Idaho will continue to face serious challenges. We are grateful that President Trump signed this second declaration so recovery on this flooding event can begin immediately."

On April 21, President Trump signed a disaster declaration for 11 southern Idaho counties that were hit hard by severe winter storms and related flooding from Feb. 5 through March 3.

"We are fortunate that Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are already in place in Idaho, working on the state’s first Presidential Disaster Declaration, and can seamlessly begin work on this second declaration," said Brad Richy, deputy chief of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management.

"Idahoans cannot let their guard down. The warmer temperatures that are forecast mean Idaho reservoirs will continue to fill. All that water has to go somewhere. And while officials are doing an outstanding job of gauging when and how much water to release, more water is coming."

Residents are urged to heed warnings for flooded areas and be prepared for the worst.

Information on signing up for alerts and warnings, along with flood watch information can be found at www.IOEM.Idaho.gov or at www.idwr.idaho.gov.

The Idaho Emergency Operations Center remains activated to Level 1 due to spring flooding statewide. Thirty-one of Idaho’s 44 counties have state or local disaster declarations.

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