Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski signed a proclamation declaring a local emergency in Salt Lake City, setting in motion a process to seek federal aid for those affected by the unprecedented flooding resulting from an intense storm in the early morning hours of July 26th.
The declaration will be forwarded to Salt Lake County and the State of Utah, both of which must determine the City’s eligibility before any funding can be provided. From that point, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will be contacted. Any federal disaster assistance must be approved by the U.S. president.
“We understand this storm has been a traumatic event for residents, and while we cannot promise e can make individuals whole, the City and our partners are committed to doing all we can to help people recover from this challenging situation,” said Mayor Biskupski at a press conference at the City and County Building.
In addition, the City is working with several agencies to set up a local recovery center where those affected by the flooding can receive information on assistance and repairs. The City will have a center location secured by early next week.
Since the dramatic storm – which dropped two inches of water in less than an hour – the City’s Public Utilities teams have been working day and night to assess damage and assist with recovery information in the City’s hardest-hit neighborhoods: predominantly Sugar House, the Ballpark, and in areas bordering the Jordan River.
The Red Cross reported making contact with 161 homeowners since Wednesday, with 91 reporting some level of flood damage to their property.
Mayor Biskupski and emergency experts strongly advise all residents and business owners affected business owners to call Public Utilities to report their damages. This will help the City compile statistics in building a case for disaster relief. That number is:
801-483-6700, press option 1
Homeowners should also work with their insurance companies, as well.
Three schools in Salt Lake City School District also sustained damage, and the City’s Sprague Library was severely flooded. East High School flooding is estimated at approximately $4 million, said Yandary Zavala Chatwin, Communications Director for the school district.
Sprague Library will be closed for several months to repair major flooding in the basement, which destroyed the children’s section. All library personnel will be moved to other City libraries until the building reopens, said Andrew Shaw, City Library Communications Manager.