September 16, 2014

Federal disaster declaration issued for 9 counties, request in for 26 more

The president has approved a federal disaster declaration for nine Iowa counties and a second request is in the works. Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division spokesperson, Stephanie Bond, says the federal declaration covers Adams, Clarke, Decatur, Mills, Montgomery, Pottawattamie, Ringgold, Taylor and Wayne.

“A presidential declaration basically provides federal fundings to the state for those counties for the public assistance programs,” Bond explains. “And the public assistance programs, there are some long-term recovery programs — some of which are matched by state programs — and they are designed to help public entities and some non-profits.”

The public assistance can come in many forms. “For emergency work, repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities, and it also might include debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair of damaged property, and loans needed by communities for essential government functions,” Bond says.

The federal disaster declaration was announced Monday, the same day the governor asked that more counties be added to the list. “Governor Branstad has asked for another presidential disaster declaration for 26 more counties,” Bond says. “This time it was for a storm that began on June 14th. The presidential declaration that we already got was for storms on June three and four.”

The 26 counties in the new request are: Allamakee, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Humboldt, Ida, Kossuth, Lyon, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, and Wright. Bond says it may take a little time to find out if those new counties get the federal designation. “It might be a couple weeks or a month before we hear. I know the disaster declaration that we just had, the request was put in on July 7th,” Bond says.

Bond believes the damage totals will prove the case for the new counties. “We’re very hopeful, the state really got pummeled in June with several sets of storms that rolled through and they just kind of continued one on top of another. And as a result we had plenty of damage from wind and tornadoes and flooding. So yes, we are really hopeful that we will get that designation,” Bond says.

The declaration for the June 3-4 storms is Iowa’s first Presidential Disaster Declaration in 2014. Governor Branstad has issued state disaster declarations for 70 of the 99 counties. That includes the proclamation Monday that added Chickasaw County to the state list.