It has been announced by President Obama that his government are now officially considering the December floods that occurred in the state of Washington a natural disaster, making them now applicable for federal disaster aid to support the clean up and restoration process there.
The severe weather conditions over the last few weeks of 2015 created flooding on an unprecedented scale, destroying homes, businesses, and livelihoods, and forcing many people and families to abandon their homes for fear of being cut off completely. The evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people meant that many safety stations had to be set up in nearby schools and hospitals, providing safety for those fleeing the waters. It is believed that ten counties at least will be accessing the financial aid to help their local communities.
As well as flooding, the areas of Oregon and Washington have suffered from landslides and tornadoes which have cut off many people from support and help, and forcing emergencies services to risk dangerous rescues in order to prevent further harm. It is believed at this time that two people were killed in Oregon. Much of the rescue work and repairs that now need to be carried out will be very expensive, especially as much of the debris that has been deposited in areas will have to be removed before any hope of repairing the damage can be realised.
Governor Jay Inslee of Washington has announced a state of emergency, following what he described in his own words as ‘days of hazardous weather with landslides closing major highways, high winds knocking out power to thousands, and rainfall causing wide-spread flooding of roadways, homes and property’. It is believed that funds will be able to start helping people in the affected areas very soon.