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Monday, August 27, 2002 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

AoA provides $74,000 to Minnesota to aid older flood victims

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging has made $74,000 in disaster assistance available to the Minnesota Board on Aging to support critical gap-filling services for seniors following flooding in various counties throughout Minnesota earlier this year.

"I am so pleased that we are able to offer this support to the courageous older citizens of Minnesota, who once again pulled together to make it through one of the most difficult times in their region’s history," said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.

Severe flooding in Northern Minnesota in early June led President Bush to declare Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Norman and Roseau Counties as federal disaster areas. Subsequently, Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake counties were added to the designation. The town of Roseau, Minnesota was hit the hardest when over 10 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Across the entire region, hundreds of people were driven from their homes, and thousands of acres of prime farmland were swamped and crops destroyed. A significant number of people had to be evacuated from their homes, and many were older persons requiring individualized assistance.

The AoA, through its national disaster preparedness and response activities, has been working with the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Northwest Area Agency on Aging, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Red Cross and Lutheran Disaster Services since the flooding occurred to help older victims and their families recover and assist them in applying for services and benefits. Approximately 3,080 seniors have been assisted since the floods occurred. The AoA disaster assistance funds will be used to help defray the cost of services that have been provided including outreach, advocacy, and chore and clean up for the older Minnesotans living in these areas.

Josefina G. Carbonell, Assistant Secretary for Aging authorized the assistance, expressing her commitment to helping the older victims of these floods recover over the long term. "We know that seniors often take a bit longer to recover from disasters of this magnitude, and we want to be able to provide as much assistance as possible to help them get back on their feet. Our funding fills in for services and activities that older people need that are not provided through other emergency resources," said Assistant Secretary Carbonell. She continued, "We are so proud of the way these communities came together to help each other, especially all the staff and volunteers of the Minnesota aging network who jumped to the aid of their older neighbors while also trying to help save their own families and homes."

For additional information about the AoA’s national disaster preparedness and response activities, please contact Irma Tetzloff at (202) 619-3268.