Preparing Iowa for terrorist attacks and natural disasters remains a top priority in all levels of government, according to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. He says in the two years since the September 11th attacks, millions of dollars have been pumped into various Iowa agencies that focus on preparedness and emergency services. Harkin says thanks to partnerships between citizens, federal, state and local governments and the private sector, “Iowa is more secure and better prepared to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism, and other disasters, natural or human made.” He says more than 71-million dollars in federal funds for preparedness has been secured for Iowa. Harkin says he and members of his staff have held many meetings in Iowa, listening to people’s concerns since the 9-11 attacks.Harkin says Iowa communities have become much better prepared, the state’s public health system has been strengthened so acts of bioterrorism can be detected early and be responded to quickly. Also, he says the food supply is safer from agriterrorism due to efforts which include 281-million dollars earmarked for the National Animal Disease Lab in Ames. Harkin says he’s been discouraged by what he’s heard from some Iowa firefighters and law officers. He says some of them say they’re frustrated they don’t get enough information from the federal government and are swamped by reporting and raining requirements that aren’t relevant to Iowa and take funds from other activities.Harkin sits on the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee.
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