Flood/Blizzard Damage Tally Continues

The number of cities under emergency declarations in response to the devastation from the historic weather events increased to 89. There are 77 counties under declarations, 4 tribal nations, and 5 special government areas such as unincorporated townships. Declarations cover more than 80 percent of the state.

As Nebraskans are beginning to return home to flood ravaged communities, the reality of what comes next hits hard. It can be overwhelming.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has an interactive map of declarations, a chart of estimated damage costs, and general information on the floods.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has set up a hotline for donations of hay and other farm supplies. That hotline number is 800-831-0550. The Nebraska National Guard is currently executing hay drops in areas where livestock are cut off from feed. In addition, NDA has a Rural Response Hotline for farmers and producers who are needing emotional support or someone to talk to.

When disasters occur, there are always people who try to profit off of the needs of others. Fraudulent funding schemes are popping up on the Internet. To find a legitimate agency for monetary and other goods and services donations, contact 211. To reach 211, simply dial 211. If you have difficulty reaching 211, dial 866-813-1731.

Any Nebraskan knows that neighbors helping neighbors is everyday life in the heartland. Our National Guard troops are our neighbors, friends, and family.

The loss to Nebraska agriculture could easily top the $1 billion mark.There is a $400 million loss to cow-calf operations and $440 million estimated crop losses. Farmers and ranchers are requesting assistance for hay and fencing.

Agriculture is Nebraska’s number one industry, and a flooding disaster of this magnitude has an impact on everyone. Farmers and ranchers have immediate and immense needs as caring for their animals and keeping them safe is a top priority. It’s devastating to lose livestock under any circumstance, and this is on such a large scale.

Nebraska has been appreciative of the overwhelming response of donations of hay, feed, equipment, etc.In addition to local offers of assistance from Nebraskans, ag-related donations are coming in from all over the country: Texas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, North Carolina and Colorado. For the first 20-25 calls for ag assistance, Nebraska received more than 110 offers to help.

One of the many challenges Nebraska is facing, in matching donated ag resources to farmers and ranchers in need, is the ability to physically get the resources to the ag producers when roads and railways are flooded and inaccessible. Field staff with the NDA, working in northeast Nebraska, hand delivered donated hay from the community of West Point to a local cattle producer in need. NDA has staff working in the State Emergency Operations Center coordinating requests for assistance with donations.

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