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FEMA to assess Mpls. damage

Published 10:54am Thursday, May 26, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — The Federal Emergency Management Agency was expected to begin assessing damage today from the deadly tornado that tore through parts of north Minneapolis over the weekend to determine whether the area is eligible for federal aid, officials said Wednesday.

Two people were killed and dozens were injured when the tornado hit the city Sunday, buckling sidewalks, toppling trees and ripping roofs off houses. City inspectors have deemed 116 homes uninhabitable, while another 1,819 homes were damaged but could still be lived in. Damage was estimated to be at least $166 million.

Teams made up of FEMA, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Small Business Administration officials will branch out to assess damage to houses, businesses, public buildings and infrastructure. They expect to finish by late Friday, and Gov. Mark Dayton will then send a letter to President Barack Obama requesting federal aid.

State officials will use FEMA’s assessment to determine whether the state could shoulder the burden or if it should apply for federal aid. The minimum threshold to qualify for aid is $6.4 million in damage to uninsured public property — a figure that would likely be met, said Kris Eide, director of the state’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management division.