US homeland security secretary to visit Minot

By the Associated Press | July 13, 2011 | 11:29 AM EDT

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The Cabinet secretary responsible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency is slated to tour flood-stricken Minot.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano plans to take a helicopter tour over the city on Wednesday to survey flood damage and meet with state and local officials.

State National Guard Commander David Sprynczynatyk (sprin-suh-NAT'-ik) calls the visit "critical." He says it's important that Napolitano not just hear about the estimated $1 billion in flood-related costs in North Dakota this year but that she also "see the emotion and devastation" for herself.

North Dakota U.S. Sens. Kent Conrad and John Hoeven also say it's important for Napolitano to see the disaster in person.

More than 4,100 Minot homes were damaged by Souris River floodwaters, and more than 11,000 people had to leave their homes.