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California receives $22 million from FEMA for Oroville Dam emergency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent $22.8 million to California to help the state cover expenses related to the crisis at the Oroville Dam earlier this year, the federal agency said.

The check was sent to the Department of Water Resources, which requested assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures in February, FEMA said.

The allocation was announced during a media call Wednesday. FEMA generally reimburses up to 75% of emergency expenses.

FEMA approved the money shortly after a long, concrete flood-control spillway at the dam crumbled under heavy use in February. The failure sparked a larger emergency when the reservoir exceeded capacity and forced more than 100,000 people downriver in Butte County to flee with only an hour’s notice.

The Butte County sheriff revamped emergency evacuation plans in the wake of the failure, and about 80 individuals and businesses have filed claims against the state citing lost revenue and damaged property. The Department of Water Resources’ Division of Safety of Dams has also launched a statewide reassessment on the spillways of nearly 100 other dams in California.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

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