Thirty Iowa counties are now getting their paperwork together after a Presidential Disaster Declaration was approved Friday for damages from the ice storm in early December. State Emergency Management Division administrator, David Miller, says the declaration opens up federal money for governments and nonprofit agencies.
He says they go through a series of applicant briefings and will be doing those in the next couple of days. Miller says since the electric co-ops suffered the bulk of the damage, the state has already started meeting with co-op leaders. Miller says the declaration included a hazard mitigation declaration for the entire state.
Miller says the federal government allocates a portion of the disaster funds to go toward mitigating the damage from future storms or other disasters. Miller says they’ll talk about the mitigation as they go through the recovery paperwork. Miller says they’ll look at opportunities to lessen the effects of the next disaster, whether that’s creating storm shelters, or moving homes out of the flood plain, there are federal dollars available to do those things that require some local matching dollars. He says the electric co-ops will look at things they can do to lessen the impact on their systems if there were another ice storm, and know there are some steps they can take.
Miller says how they re-string wire and make their connections are mitigation steps that are eligible under the mitigation grants. He says they’ll walk through everything and come up with a program for doing it. This federal declaration came in the new year, but is for damages related to 2007.
Miller says with the damage happening last year this is the fifth presidential declaration in the last 12 months. Miller says when you spend well over 100 million dollars in recover efforts in 12 months, you’ve had a record setting year.
The 30 counties included in the disaster declaration are: Adair, Adams, Appanoose, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Iowa, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Lucas, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington, and Wayne Counties.