March 20, 2019, 12:07 p.m.
Governor Ricketts on Wednesday said Nebraska has incurred more than a billion dollars in damages already from flooding. The state is awaiting a federal disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for what’s being called the most widespread natural disaster in Nebraska history.
In total, 74 counties and 85 cities and towns in Nebraska have declared an emergency since last week. In the preliminary estimates sent to FEMA, Ricketts said the state has incurred $439 million in infrastructure damage, $85 million in damages to private homes and businesses, $400 million in cow and calf losses, and $440 million in crop losses.
After meeting with Vice President Mike Pence to assess flood damages, Ricketts said the vice president told him Nebraska has the full support of the federal government.
“When I was on the phone with the vice president yesterday, we called to let him know that FEMA in Washington D.C. had our letter and he said that they were going to be there to support us," Ricketts said. "We talked generally about the flood damage – the vice president told him it was some of the worst flooding he had ever seen in his life – and I think that will help the president make the decision to sign that disaster declaration.”
At the news conference, Ricketts said he’s unsure how long it will take to get the federal disaster declaration approved.