Gov. Herbert requests federal disaster aid for Santa Clara

Santa Clara flooding invades homes, St. George, Utah, Sept. 11, 2012 | Photo by Marshall Connelly, St. George News

SANTA CLARA – Gov. Gary R. Herbert Thursday declared a State of Emergency for Utah and signed a letter requesting President Barack Obama issue a presidential disaster declaration for the state due to the recent flooding in Southern Utah. If approved by the President, Utah would become eligible for federal disaster assistance for public infrastructure.

Gov. Herbert was in St. George on Sept. 20. Earlier that day he had toured areas of Santa Clara damaged by flooding, St. George, Utah, Sept. 20, 2012 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“My heart goes out to the local residents and families who were impacted by this terrible tragedy,” said Herbert. “Recovering from disasters and rebuilding public infrastructure takes partnerships and cooperation.”

Herbert toured the dam breach site and cleanup areas earlier today. In a statement to St. George News, he praised the efforts of first responders and volunteers during and after the flood. Elements of the public and private sector came together to help the people of Santa Clara, he said, and called the combined effort “remarkable.”

He then mentioned the volunteers specifically. “I applaud the some 4,000 volunteers,” he said. “They accomplished more than the government could have done.”

On Sept. 11, the Laub Dam gave way, sending a torrent of water into Santa Clara, damaging 66 homes, 18 businesses and various elements of public infrastructure, including gravel roads, sidewalks, sewer lines and golf courses.

Utah Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management staff worked closely with FEMA officials to draft the letter sent to the president. According to preliminary damage assessments completed by a joint team from FEMA, the state and local agencies, it appears the affected areas of Santa Clara, Ivins and St. George suffered $3.9 million in eligible damages to public infrastructure.

Damage to homes and businesses is not eligible for the type of assistance Utah is seeking.

If the president approves the State’s request for a presidential disaster declaration, a FEMA team would return to identify and approve eligible projects. State and/or local agencies must match 25 percent of the total federal assistance package.

Locally, a handful of fundraisers have been announced to benefit the Santa Clara flood victims.

Charities donations

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, 2012, all rights reserved

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