U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Minnesotans dealing with flood damage Sunday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin to assess that damage on Tuesday, to start the process of getting federal disaster assistance, the Star Tribune reports.
Klobuchar visited flooded areas in the region Sunday, including Harriet Island in downtown St. Paul which has been inundated by the Mississippi River. Klobuchar said it will take about a week for FEMA to complete its assessment.
"We have faith they will move quickly on this assessment," Klobuchar said, according to FOX 9. "It's never quick enough when you have a community you can't get through on a road."
The damage to public infrastructure must total at least $7.3 million before a presidential disaster declaration can be issued. For counties to qualify, they must have damage that totals $3.50 per capita.
Gov. Mark Dayton will then decide if he can make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster – only President Barack Obama can approve that, the news station says.
While Obama was in Minnesota last week, he vowed to be a strong partner in the flood recovery.
“I told the governor that we will be there as we get some clarity about the damage and what needs to be done,” Obama said, the Associated Press reported.
Klobuchar added that she spoke to the president about the need for help across the state.
"I think we were fortunate that he was able to come for two days, was able to see the water rushing over Minnehaha Falls," Klobuchar said. "He personally commented to me about that. I think he knows how extensive this damage is."
Minnesota leaders have said for weeks that they planned to seek federal aid when damage estimate tallies were completed. Early estimates were in the millions of dollars, and the federal money could be used to help restore public assets, such as roads, water treatment plants and government buildings, as well as some emergency response costs, the Star Tribune reported.
Communities are still cleaning up after recent flooding and in some areas flood waters aren't expected to recede for weeks.