State and federal officials working on the recovery from this year’s flooding said the damage was not as widespread as in 2011, but that is no consolation for the people and governments impacted by this year’s flooding.
Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Ed Tinsley said in Havre this week that the flooding this year does not compare to the dollar amounts in damage that flooding caused in 2011.
The state knew flooding was coming but could not anticipate four days of heavy rain that blanketed the state, mushrooming the impacts, that year.
“I can’t compare anything to that. It was so big and so widespread,” Tinsley said. “This is more localized.”
The flooding in 2011 led to federal disaster declarations for 48 out of the state’s 56 counties and five of its seven Indian reservations.
This year, the declaration was for 12 counties, including Blaine, Chouteau and Hill, and three reservations, including Rocky Boy’s and Fort Belknap.
But, every disaster is the worst for the people who suffer damage, Tinsley said.
FEMA Public Affairs Officer Ricardo X. “Zuni” Zuñiga echoed that.
“One thing that’s really difficult when you’re trying to compare scope or size of a disaster is, if it happens to you, it’s the worst disaster there ever was,” Zuñiga said. “So we try not to put those qualifiers, on good, bad, big, little.”