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FILE - In this June 27, 2011 file photo, an American flag attached to a home is surrounded by debris from the Souris River floodwaters near Minot State University in Minot, N.D. The number of 2011 flood victims in the Souris River basin who have been asked to repay federal aid has been less than numbers associated with other large disasters around the country. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is pursuing full or partial repayment of assistance from 53 households, for a variety of reasons including duplication of insurance benefits. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

FEMA sought to recoup only small amount of Souris Basin aid

MINOT, N.D. — The number of 2011 flood victims in the Souris River basin who have been asked to repay federal aid has been less than numbers associated with other large disasters around the country.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is pursuing full or partial repayment of assistance from 53 households, for a variety of reasons including duplication of insurance benefits. The average repayment amount is about $8,600, the Minot Daily News reported.

The total amount sought by FEMA of about $455,000 is less than 1 percent of the $96 million paid out to 7,400 residents after the flood to help with temporary housing or home repairs.

By comparison, FEMA sought repayment of 2 percent of assistance after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and just under 5 percent after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005. FEMA sought to recover more than $385 million from 83,000 victims after those hurricanes.

The Souris River in June 2011 swelled with excessive rain and spring snowmelt and swamped part of Minot, damaging or destroying more than 4,000 homes and other structures and causing nearly $700 million in damage. More damage occurred in rural areas of the north central North Dakota basin.

FEMA returns to the scene after the initial aftermath of a disaster to examine aid recipients’ situations and eligibility.

“We are not making any presumption of fraud,” spokesman Brian Hvinden said.

The most common reason for notices of repayment after the Souris River flood was duplication of insurance benefits. Other reasons included payments being made to more than one person in a household, overpayment based on actual costs, a flooded home not being a primary residence, a flooded home not being occupied at the time or ownership not being verified.

In related news, Regional disaster response effort has roots in Minot flood.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.