Iowa Homeland Security Administrator David Miller says the state’s Emergency Management agency has gone back and tallied the damage again from last week’s tornadoes in Johnson, Jones and Muscatine Counties. The “unit numbers” they count are important to getting a presidential disaster declaration. They went back and counted because the numbers appeared low, and the new total is about one-thousand-61 structures destroyed or damaged in the three counties.
Miller explains student housing in Iowa City, which suffered a lot of the damage, was figured differently than they’d count single-familiy homes. Normally, for example, they’d count a house as one unit but if a place in Iowa City is housing five students, it’s the equivalent of five units and they wanted the count to reflect that.
Miller says the governor’s already issued a state disaster declaration. The storm happened on April 13, and early the morning of the fourteenth the governor’s proclamation was issued, allowing the use of state resources. That stays in effect for thirty days. FEMA Region 7 will consider the governor’s request for the federal disaster designation, in a few days, and may ask for more information or contact Miller’s agency to confirm information that’s been submitted.
Then funds will come for use in two ways. One’s called public assistance and it helps restore buildings and infrastructure owned by the county, cities, and the University of Iowa. Individual assistance funds are for people and families, and some businesses that were affected.