Governor requests disaster declaration

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June 17th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – Governor Dave Heineman is requesting federal assistance for Nebraska counties affected by the Missouri flooding. Heineman made the announcement Friday, as he toured the flooding river near Eppley Airfield in Omaha.

Mayor Jim Suttle, Gov. Dave Heineman and Congressman Lee Terry toured flooded areas in Omaha Friday. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Overlooking the river, surrounded by sandbags and construction crews, Governor Dave Heineman questioned emergency management officials as they led him on a tour over the city’s northern levee. Heineman was joined by Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and Congressman Lee Terry, who lauded the city’s efforts to hold back the water.

“We’re way beyond just hoping nothing happens,” Terry said. “I don’t think anything will, but the reality is if it does, it’s going to be handled so quickly and easily, because they’re in place and ready to go, and that’s what’s impressive.”

National Guard troops led Mayor Jim Suttle, Rep. Lee Terry and Gov. Dave Heineman on a tour of Omaha's northern levee near Eppley Airfield. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

The city of Omaha has already spent over a million dollars containing the flooding waters. Heineman said the full cost, to the city and the state, is far from realized.

“This is going to be an ongoing situation,” he said. “As I’ve stated before, this is not like maybe a tornado or hurricane that occurs for a few days, you make the assessment, you submit the damage request. This is going to go on for months.”

Heineman said he’ll be making the request for a federal disaster declaration next week. If approved, it will free up federal funds to help the state hold back the rising water, and start to recover from the damage.

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