12 more counties eligible for individual FEMA assistance; 32 miles of state roads still closed

12 more counties eligible for individual FEMA assistance; 32 miles of state roads still closed
Photo Courtesy: Anne Marie Kepler

LINCOLN — Twelve more counties have been added to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s list of counties eligible for individual assistance.

Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday also extended emergency relief executive orders to May 15 for the “most widespread disaster we’ve ever seen in our state.”

One of the orders suspends fees paid by solid waste disposal facilities to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. The order directs those facilities to use the fees to reduce the costs for Nebraskans to dispose of storm debris and animal carcasses.

The 12 new counties newly eligible for FEMA’s individual assistance are: Antelope, Boyd, Burt, Cuming, Hall, Howard, Madison, Nance, Pierce, Platte, Saline and Stanton.

Counties previously approved are: Boone, Buffalo, Butler, Cass, Colfax, Custer, Dodge, Douglas, Knox, Nemaha, Richardson, Sarpy, Saunders, Thurston and Washington. Also approved is the Santee Indian Reservation.

Nearly $13.9 million in individual assistance has been granted from FEMA so far.

FEMA’s Nebraska Federal Coordinating Officer, Connie Johnson-Cage, said affected people should apply, regardless of whether their county has been announced as being eligible for individual assistance. People won’t have to apply again if their county is added to the list.

In other flood updates:

  • 32 miles of Nebraska highways are still closed, said Kyle Schneweis, the director of the State Department of Transportation. About a third of Nebraska’s highways — about 3,300 miles — were closed at one point by the flood.
  • Temporary solutions for two wiped-out bridges are planned, for Highways 12 and 281, but won’t be in place until late summer or fall.
  • A contractor is in place to repair the Boyd County water line that ran under the Niobrara River. Four communities in Boyd County were relying on bottled water but now are using private well water, which they are advised to boil out of caution. The contractor is waiting for the weather to stabilize before beginning the project.
  • A 10-member emergency management team from the state of Washington will be assisting Nebraska’s emergency management team until April 24.
  • The Nebraska National Guard is running air drop missions, including a drop to isolated livestock Tuesday near Scotia and the North Loup River.