[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book I)]
[June 29, 1993]
[Pages 959-960]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Flooding in the Midwest
June 29, 1993

    I am very concerned about the flooding in the heartland of our 
country, and I've asked Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy to survey the 
region and see firsthand what the excessive rains have done to 
agriculture production there. I also have directed the Federal Emergency 
Management Agency to keep me fully informed of their activities on 
behalf of the affected States.
    The Mississippi River is closed to navigation over a 500-mile 
stretch from the Twin Cities in Minnesota to St. Louis. Clearly, this is 
one of the most significant natural disasters midwestern residents, 
business owners, and agricultural producers have faced in a very long 
time. This region of the country is dependent upon agricultural 
production, and when agriculture faces a disaster like this one, 
everyone is adversely affected.
    Tomorrow Secretary Espy will travel to Iowa, Wisconsin (weather 
permitting), Minnesota, and South Dakota to view the rain-related damage 
and talk face to face with farmers and area residents about the damage.
    FEMA Director James Lee Witt reports that his Agency already has 
placed survey teams in the field where they are working with the State 
emergency operating centers. These teams are laying the groundwork 
necessary for Federal disaster assistance. We intend to speed the 
recovery of the affected communities and ensure disaster victims receive 
the help they need as rapidly as possible.
    Upon his return, Secretary Espy will brief me on the condition of 
the area and make recommendations that will help our fellow citizens 
living in the region.
    As you know, nine counties in southwestern Minnesota were declared 
disaster areas in late

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May. Last week, I granted Governor Arne Carlson's request to extend the 
incident period to allow for coverage for the torrential rains after May 
19th through June.
    Wisconsin has been hard hit. The break in the dam at Blackriver 
Falls has destroyed or damaged over 100 homes. Many of the town's 
residents have no flood insurance. Governor Tommy Thompson has already 
asked the National Guard to assist the evacuation of flood victims.
    Iowa's Governor Branstad also is using the National Guard to assist 
flood victims in the eastern part of his State. He has told us that many 
homes and businesses have been flooded out, and thousands more are at 
risk if the levee breaks.
    The Mississippi River continues to rise in Missouri, threatening 
towns still dealing with the ravages of the May floods. FEMA teams are 
in eastern Missouri, continuing to monitor the flooding of the 
Mississippi. Some areas have been evacuated, and preliminary damage 
assessment teams are in place for a formal assessment request, pending a 
call from Governor Mel Carnahan.
    I commend the bravery and endurance of the many midwesterners facing 
torrents of rain and rivers that have not yet crested. We will work 
together to rebuild your communities as we work together to rebuild