Natural disasters happen everywhere. In fact, we’ve all woken up to the news about some type of horrible natural disaster happening in another state or country, including horrors like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Whenever we see those types of news stories, it reminds us that we’re also vulnerable in Minnesota. Many residents living in Minnesota aren’t aware that Minnesota is one of the most disaster-prone states in the country. If you weren’t aware of that fact or want more of an explanation about why Minnesota is so disaster prone, keep reading.
What Makes Minnesota Prone to Natural Disasters?
A few unique things about Minnesota make it prone to natural disasters. First, our state houses over 10,000 lakes and several rivers, meaning we experience many floods. If you combine our many bodies of water to the long, cold winters we have, it’s easy to see why natural disasters abound here. For instance, if you think back to the first four months of this year, we had several rainstorms, massive amounts of melting snow, and winter storm Wesley. So it’s not surprising that with so many seasonal factors, our state’s public property and infrastructure, which includes bridges, roads, public buildings, parks, utilities, etc., experienced damaging hits, especially from the middle of March until the end of April of this year.
How Much Did All the Damage Cost?
Currently, we’ve got initial estimates about how much repairing the destruction in the state could cost. Unfortunately, the estimates covering all the necessary fixes encompass 50 counties in our state, including four tribal nations. That means the estimate falls above $32 million. Minnesota’s public assistance statewide funding for this type of destruction is $7.9 million. So, the most recent damage will cost four times more than what Minnesota is allocated in a year to repair these issues.
How is Minnesota Solving this Problem?
Minnesota Governor Walz recently asked the president to make a major disaster declaration for our state through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Once the disaster declaration receives approval from the president, FEMA will reimburse the damaged areas of Minnesota for 75% of the repair costs. The state addresses the remaining 25% of the repair costs through the Disaster Assistance Contingency Account. So, the counties and tribal nations that need to fix their damaged areas can feel safe fixing their local public property and infrastructure since they’ll receive reimbursement for much of what they spend.
In addition to this, the most affected areas in Minnesota will receive reimbursement for the public safety measures they had to enforce when the incidents were occurring. So, if those areas had to pay their police or other personnel overtime during the incident, they’ll get their money back.
What About Private Property?
Unfortunately, the issues addressed above cover only public property. If you incurred any private property damage, you’ll need to call your insurance company about your homes or properties. Your insurance company can help reimburse you for repairs. Remember, though, most insurance companies in Minnesota don’t offer flooding, water, or sewer assistance in basic policies. While flooding, water, and sewer reimbursement is offered, they are all usually additional insurance options that you have to ask for and then pay higher rates to maintain.
Another option you might have is to report major private property damages to your county’s emergency manager. Although it’s a bit of a longshot, sometimes people do receive assistance for private property damages during a declared disaster.