Federal disaster declarations came last night from President Bush for 14 Iowa counties, after the weekend’s severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. Homeowners and business owners with damage can now call the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 800-621-FEMA. Brian Bowman, a regional FEMA spokesman, says those people -do- need to get to a phone to apply and get into the system. He says each case is evaluated on an individual basis. Aid from FEMA includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-interest loans to rebuild and to cover uninsured property losses. Bowman says it’s possible more counties will be added to the current list of 14.Bowman says the people from FEMA who’ll be answering the toll-free hotline understand that the disaster victims may not have access to any of their insurance information — because it’s been blown away or is underwater. Still, he says before calling, try to have the information you -do- have organized — to help them help you. Iowa officials are still compiling a dollar figure, though a preliminary state report finds 14-hundred homes were damaged in 49 counties. The 14 counties declared federal disaster areas are: Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cass, Cerro Gordo, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Hancock, Humboldt, Jones, Linn, Mitchell and Pocahontas. The FEMA hotline, 800-621-FEMA, is staffed from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. seven days a week.
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