President Obama issues disaster declaration for 8 Iowa counties impacted by August storms

President Obama issues disaster declaration for 8 Iowa counties impacted by August storms

Barack Obama
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWQC)  — In  a media release, Gov. Branstad says he has received word that President Obama approved his request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for eight counties impacted by severe storms in August.

The counties included in the declaration are: Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell, and Winneshiek.

The governor sent the request for a declaration on Sept. 19, 2016, in response to significant damage that was caused by severe storms and flooding from Aug. 23-27, 2016.

The declaration by the President will provide federal funding to the declared counties under the Public Assistance Program. A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance puts into motion long-term federal recovery programs, some of which are matched by state programs, and designed to help public entities and select non-profits. Public Assistance funds may be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and may include debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools.

The Governor also received notification that the Presidential Disaster Declaration includes funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state. With this funding, Iowa will be able to minimize the impact of future disasters by taking steps now to strengthen existing infrastructure.  This Presidential Disaster Declaration is the 23rd Presidential Disaster Declaration Iowa has received since March 2007.

State leaders are grateful for the coordination and follow up on this request from the Iowa congressional delegation.

New Governor’s Disaster Proclamation

In addition, today Gov. Branstad issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for Fayette and Muscatine counties. This is in response to recent flooding that began Sept. 21, 2016. A total of 23 counties have now been proclaimed by the Governor: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Delaware, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Howard, Jones, Linn, Louisa, Mitchell, Story, Worth and Wright.

The governor’s proclamation allows State resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of these storms. Today’s proclamation also activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Program for both counties.

The Iowa Individual Assistance Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $40,180, for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and for the expense of temporary housing. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.

State, local, and federal teams are conducting joint damage assessments in nine counties impacted by the recent flooding. The assessments will be conducted in Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Delaware, Floyd, Jones and Linn counties.

Data from the joint damage assessments could be used by Gov. Branstad to request a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which, if granted, would make Individual Assistance funding available in the designated counties. The FEMA Individual Assistance Program is made available to homeowners, renters and businesses and can include grants and low-interest loans to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other aid programs.

Assessments of damage to public infrastructure have not been scheduled at this time.

In order to request a Presidential Disaster Declaration, damage incurred must meet criteria set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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