Disaster recovery center to open at mall

Published 9:55 pm Saturday, July 10, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A partial estimate of damage from the tornadoes that thrashed much of Minnesota last month is about $35 million.

The figure from the federal government covers public property and the costs to government agencies responding to the violent weather. It doesn’t include damage to private property.

A slew of tornadoes touched down around the state June 17. The biggest damage by far came in Wadena, which accounted for $32 million of the $35.5 million estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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The disaster declaration includes the counties of Faribault, Freeborn, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena counties.

A disaster recovery center for Freeborn County residents and business owners affected by the June 17 tornadoes will be opening Thursday at the Northbridge Mall to help people get answers and guidance regarding their disaster recovery.

Representatives from local, state, federal and other supporting agencies will provide resources to assist individuals and families.

Specifically, people will be able to get information about farm advocacy, unemployment, housing, long-term recovery assistance and emotional support, among others.

The center will be open in the former Hallmark store at the mall from 1 to 7 p.m. July 15 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 16 and 17.

Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever said Rose Olmsted and members of the Freeborn County Crisis Response Team will also be on hand to assist people who may need help recovering from the trauma of disaster.

“This is, in some way, week three since the tornadoes,” Kluever said. “At this point, a lot of the emotional needs need to be dealt with.”

Kluever said the center is open to anyone who has unmet needs, whether emotional or physical, following the June 17 tornadoes.

The disaster recovery center is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in cooperation with other disaster recovery partner agencies.

People seeking disaster recovery guidance can stop in the center during any of its hours of operation. No appointments are needed.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA officials will meet with the officials from impacted cities and townships, along with Freeborn County leaders at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Freeborn County Commissioners boardroom.

Faribault County leaders will also be in attendance.

The meeting is meant to address the public assistance funding approved through FEMA.

During the meeting, township, city and county leaders will give FEMA officials more complete estimates about public assistance damages.

FEMA funding has been approved through the June 26 storms.