Gov. Dave Heineman submitted a request Friday for a federal disaster declaration for 18 counties because of Missouri River flooding.
The City of Omaha has spent at least $1.5 million to tackle flooding concerns, Aida Amoura, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Suttle, said Friday.
That figure includes the cost to hire consultants to study levees and sewer problems. The cost of overtime for city workers and other personnel expenses have not been calculated, so the estimate is rough and likely to grow, Amoura said.
Suttle, Heineman and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., on Friday toured the city’s levees that are north of Eppley Airfield. They vowed to work together to address flooding concerns.
Heineman submitted a formal request to President Barack Obama for a federal disaster declaration on Friday.
The request includes damage that began May 24. The list of counties consists of 14 that border the Missouri River, including Douglas County, and four counties along the Platte River.
The move would help the state secure federal disaster funds to recover some of the costs of flood relief efforts coordinated through the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
Terry said he’ll do what he can to help Omaha obtain federal support.
“My job is … to help in any way,” he said.
Omaha Assistant Fire Chief Dan Stolinski said the city plans to close Riverfront Drive within the next 48 hours.
He said the road will be closed indefinitely. If a disaster area is declared, a Nebraska National Guard Black Hawk helicopter could be deployed to help with sandbagging efforts along the levees, Stolinski said.
Also Friday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad had signed a letter asking Vilsack to declare an emergency, which could trigger farm bill disaster aid programs.
World-Herald staff writer Leslie Reed contributed to this report.
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