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12governor declaration AUST - FOR WEB/MD

Post-Bulletin staff

ST. PAUL -- Hours after floodwaters swamped much of Mower and Freeborn counties today, Gov. Tim Pawlenty declared a state of emergency in the two counties, triggering the start of a damage assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine if they are eligible for federal assistance.

 In his executive order, Pawlenty cited the flooding, which "has resulted in loss of life and significant damage to personal property, homes, businesses and public infrastructure."

The order tasks the Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to activate the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan and provide assistance to the affected local governments in determining the need for supplementary disaster aid.

Earlier this week, Pawlenty issued similar declarations for Fillmore and Houston counties to the east, which were swamped by rains last weekend that caused floods and surges in the rivers and creeks.

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FEMA will make its own determination of losses, which then will be used to determine whether the counties will receive federal disaster assistance.

FEMA damage assessment teams need to find at least $6.2 million worth of damage in each county to public facilities -- buildings, roads, treatment plants, and other infrastructure. -- to qualify for federal aid, said Doug Neville, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

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