Delegation Supports Gov. Daugaard’s Request for Disaster Declaration
Governor’s Request Comes in Response to May 10 Storm
WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today urged President Obama to declare a Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance for South Dakota counties affected by the May 10, 2015, storm and EF-2 tornado, during which nine people were injured and 57 homes were damaged – including 27 that were completely destroyed.
“We respectfully request that you declare a major disaster for the relevant areas of our state and that you instruct federal agencies to expedite the delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which the state is eligible based upon that declaration,” the delegation wrote. “We would be pleased to offer any assistance that you may require in fulfilling this request.”
Full text of the letter can be found below:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
As members of the South Dakota Congressional delegation, we write to express our full support of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance for the South Dakota counties of Douglas and Charles Mix. This declaration would greatly assist in recovery efforts from a severe storm and tornado event that occurred on May 10, 2015.
As the Governor’s request described, on May 10, 2015, an EF-2 tornado with a width of 400 yards and peak winds of 130 mph touched down in southeast South Dakota. The tornado’s primary point of impact was the City of Delmont, which suffered significant damage leaving 9 people injured and damaging 57 homes, of which 27 were considered completely destroyed. The local fire department was destroyed, and for two days the entire city was without power and water. Forty-one percent of the City of Delmont’s residential structures were damaged, the majority of which have major damage or are completely destroyed.
The Delmont community has a small population of 234 residents. Following this incident, 89 percent of the population was voluntarily evacuated due to hazardous power lines, leaking propane tanks, and other debris. Affected residents are still unable to return to their homes and are living in campers, renting temporary housing and staying in hotels. The nearest city capable of providing housing resources is 40 miles away, forcing displaced residents to move for long periods of time, significantly increasing commute times for work and school. These factors may eventually force citizens to relocate if the situation cannot be remedied.
The local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was opened immediately following this tornado, along with the state EOC. The Governor has taken the appropriate action under state law, directing the execution of a State Emergency Operation Plan. Affected counties have also issued disaster declarations. The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management has coordinated resources to aid local government response, the details of which are outlined in the Governor’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance.
We respectfully request that you declare a major disaster for the relevant areas of our state and that you instruct federal agencies to expedite the delivery of all forms of federal disaster assistance for which the state is eligible based upon that declaration. We would be pleased to offer any assistance that you may require in fulfilling this request.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this important matter. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if we can provide you with additional information.