Ricketts issues disaster declaration for areas affected by thunderstorm

(Lincoln, NE) -- Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issues a disaster declaration for areas affected by the historic thunderstorm two weeks ago.

On Friday, Ricketts issued the declaration in response to the severe storms that brought hurricane strength winds, knocking out electricity and causing extensive damage. The declaration allows for use of the Governor’s Emergency Fund and is needed to request a federal disaster declaration for public assistance.

The Governor's Office says state and local agencies continue to conduct damage assessments. Once sufficient information is gathered, a request for Federal Public Assistance will be sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency regional office, then to FEMA headquarters and finally to the White House for review and approval by President Biden.

“It is important to note that the phrase Public Assistance refers to assistance for public entities such as utilities and infrastructure,” said Nebraska Emergency Management Assistant Director Bryan Tuma. “On this event, Nebraska would qualify for the FEMA Public Assistance program but not the FEMA Individual Assistance program. Individual Assistance is based on extreme impact such as widespread loss of housing for individuals and families, loss of employment, loss of services across multiple sectors which results in extreme hardship, etc. This event, while significant, does not meet those thresholds.”

If a person or family needs help replacing spoiled food, removing tree limbs, cleaning up property damage, or has any other unmet needs, they are advised to contact:

  • United Way’s 211 system — Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898211.
  • Nebraska Rural Response HOTLINE — 1-800-464-0258 which offers the same services.
  • Insurance Provider — Many insurance policies include incidentals such as food spoilage, debris management, etc.

County Emergency Management Directors are compiling damage reports and may be aware of additional resources in their local communities to assist individuals or families in need. Contact information for County Emergency Management Directors is available on the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency website.

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