Some staggering numbers are coming in as state officials size up the extent of the damage in the historic 2019 flood.
Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets said Wednesday that the flooding has caused nearly $1.4 billion in estimated damage and losses. 2,000 miles of roadway took a hit with 375 miles remaining closed as of Wednesday morning.
But there are signs of progress with the reopening of major routes, piece by piece. There are 16 bridges affected statewide and 13 will need to be replaced. Approaches to the other three need to be repaired.
With the damage tallies still a long work in progress, here are some key, preliminary figures that attest to the scope of destruction:
- $439 million in infrastructure
- $85 million in private property damaged
- 2,067 homes damaged/destroyed
- 341 businesses damaged/destroyed
- $36 million in feed loss
- $440 million in crop/planting loss
In Colfax County meanwhile a Chinook helicopter is being used to move hay to stranded cattle – something the Nebraska National Guard has not done in years.
The governor urged people to remain patient. He said the last miles of recovery will take time: weeks, if not months.
Nebraska Deputy Emergency Management Director Bryan Tuma says the amount of damage sustained is far beyond the threshold for disaster aid, but says qualifying for individual disaster aid is complicated.
Tuma said that only once before in Nebraska's history, the 2011 Missouri River flooding, did the state qualify for individual disaster assistance.
Ricketts says a statewide fundraiser is planned Friday to gather donations for Red Cross relief efforts in Nebraska and southwest Iowa.
The #NebraskaStrong Drive for Flood Relief is through Nebraska radio and television stations and will be held from 5 a.m. till 11 p.m. Pledges can be called into 1-844-278-8555 during those hours. The fundraiser is being coordinated by the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, which donated $20,000 to the cause.