Tester, Walsh announce federal disaster assistance for central, eastern Montana

Senators help secure resources to help region recover from August storms

(U.S. SENATE) – One week after pressing the Obama Administration for federal disaster assistance for storm and flood-affected parts of central and eastern Montana, Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh are delivering.

President Obama on Thursday declared Blaine, Carter, Musselshell, Petroleum and Valley Counties, as well as Fort Belknap Reservation, major disaster areas. The designation frees up funding from FEMA to help communities recover from severe storms that pummeled the region in late August.

“When disaster strikes, we need to get resources to communities on the ground as soon as possible,” Tester said. “Montanans are tough, but this assistance will help counties rebuild. I appreciate FEMA for responding so quickly to our request.”

“This is important aid to help Montana’s communities and families recover from the severe weather this summer,” Walsh said. “It is essential that we work with state and local governments to deliver these resources as quickly as possible.”

Tester and Walsh called on FEMA to quickly approve federal disaster assistance last Friday, October 3, after Governor Steve Bullock sent his official assistance request earlier that day.

The late August storms hit Carter County with microburst winds in excess of 75 mph and caused damage to property in the Town of Ekalaka. The same series of storms also produced heavy rainfall and flooding in the counties of Valley, Blaine, Petroleum, and Musselshell, as well as the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, causing severe damage to roadways, reservoirs, and culverts.

FEMA assistance will help communities with emergency repair work and the replacement of facilities damaged by the storms.

The Agriculture Department also designated Phillips County as a primary natural disaster area earlier this week. The designation makes producers in Phillips County, as well as in the adjoining counties of Fergus, Garfield, Petroleum and Valley, eligible for Farm Service Agency assistance, such as emergency loans, if they meet certain requirements.

Tester and Walsh’s letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is available below.



Tester-Walsh MT Flooding Disaster Assistance Letter to Fugate by Dan Malessa