Preliminary flood damage assessment begins in northern Idaho

The Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security (BHS) has been working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the counties impacted from the flooding and landslides of March 31 through April 11.  Because of the damage, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has declared a State of Emergency in support of Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Nez Perce and Shoshone counties. 
Last week the state of Idaho requested that FEMA conduct a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) of the affected areas. That request was approved and three teams began their work on Tuesday (April 26).
The outcome of the joint assessment will determine whether Idaho meets the threshold for federal disaster funding.  That threshold is based on a per-capita dollar amount, which equals approximately $1.6 million for the state.  If Idaho meets the threshold, Governor Otter can request a major disaster declaration which would provide federal funding to assist in restoring damaged public infrastructure to its pre-flooding condition.
The PDA teams – including representatives from county and local emergency management, the State and FEMA – will work together to gather damage information. The teams will concentrate on assessing damage to roads, bridges and public infrastructure, as well as debris removal costs related to the disaster.
Brigadier General Bill Shawver, BHS director, said that PDAs help determine eligibility for a presidential disaster declaration. "Joint PDA teams will visit and inspect damaged areas, document damages and meet with local officials," said Shawver.  "It's a partnership effort designed to provide a clear picture of the extent and locations of damage."

Published 4-29-2011