People in five western Iowa counties who were impacted by the summer-long flooding of the Missouri River are being urged to apply for federal disaster assistance. Cynthia Kimber, a spokeswoman for FEMA, says the deadline is next month — on December 19th.

“It’s better to register than to let the deadline pass and then find that rental assistance or help with basic repair of properties may have been important,” Kimber says. There are several ways the aid money can be used.

“Disaster assistance may include rental assistance,” she says. “It may include grants to help with the basic repair of their residence.” To date, more than 700 Missouri River flood victims in those Iowa counties have applied for individual assistance and more than two-million dollars has been approved. Kimber says the sooner you apply for the aid, the sooner the assistance will be made available.

“We encourage individuals to register as soon as possible and if they are found to be eligible, they can begin to realize the benefits of that assistance right away,” Kimber says. Disaster recovery centers in Council Bluffs, Sidney and Onawa can help victims in Pottawattamie, Harrison, Mills, Monona and Fremont Counties apply for the aid.