skip to content

National Disaster Legal Aid

South Dakota Severe Storms, Tornadoes, and Flooding 2019 Recovery Information

The Disaster Legal Hotline is 1-800-952-3015.


Severe storms, tornadoes and flooding struck areas in South Dakota between September 9 and September 26, 2019. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on November 19, 2019that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of South Dakota to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas, making federal funding available for emergency work and to individuals and businesses owners who sustain damage as a result of the storms, tornadoes and flooding. 

People in the following areas are eligible to receive federal disaster assistance:

  • Aurora
  • Brookings
  • Charles Mix
  • Davison
  • Flandreau Indian Reservation
  • Hanson
  • Hutchinson
  • Lake
  • Lincoln
  • McCook
  • Minnehaha
  • Moody
  • Yankton
  • Yankton Indian Reservation

Only people in these counties can apply for FEMA benefits at this time. Additional areas may be designated later. Please check here for official updates. 


FEMA Application Deadline Extended to January 31, 2020 
Appeal Your FEMA Decision Letter  Within 60 days of the date on the determination letter
Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Thursday, December 26, 2019 

The Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) as a result of the Presidential Disaster Declaration. Click here for more info.

Key resources for those impacted by the Severe Weather

Government Disaster Relief Benefits

  • Residents and businesses affected by the storms can apply for government disaster relief benefits in several ways.  Individuals, including those who use 711 relay or VRS, can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EDT seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish and press 3 for other languages.

  • Text “DRC” and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to locate a Disaster Recovery Center in your area (standard message and data rates apply).

  • Another option is to register online at or via web-enabled phone or tablet.

  • SBA Disaster Loans are available for those who qualify.

  • Disaster Unemployment Benefits -The Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) as a result of this disaster. Click HERE to learn about eligibility and how to apply. IMPORTANT: Deadline to apply is Thursday, December 26, 2019

  • For official news and press releases related to this disaster, please visit FEMA's Updates Page

  • Note: Apply to FEMA to trigger the SBA Disaster loan process. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for eligible applicants. For more information, you may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s website. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339.

  • Download this quick guide for an overview on the disaster assistance process.

Legal Assistance and Other Resources  

  • Free legal assistance is available to storm survivors through the Disaster Relief Hotline:  1-800-952-3015.
    • This hotline is hosted by East River Legal Services and will operate during normal business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
    • Callers can leave a voicemail outside of normal business hours. When connected to the hotline, callers should provide their name, phone number, brief details of the assistance needed and what county they live.
    • Individuals who qualify for assistance will be matched with South Dakota lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance. Please see the press release  for more information.
  • Other Legal Help 

Other helpful resources to help address legal needs resulting from this disaster

Are you a volunteer attorney able to help with response efforts?

General safety and shelter resources