Governor Terry Branstad told reporters during his weekly news conference Monday that he has not heard anything yet on his request for a federal disaster declaration for some of the counties hit by the bird flu.
Branstad is confident there’s evidence to sway the president to approve the request. “If you read that entire document, it’ve very comprehensive and it’s very detailed and it’s a very unusual request for a disaster designation,” Branstad says. “But this is a very unusual loss.”
The head of the recovery division for Iowa Homeland Security says there has been only one other such federal request, and it came in 2007 from California after a crop freeze. The request is unique because it asks for resources to help workers in the industry.
“We’re asking for unemployment benefits for people who have been displaced, and we’re asking for financial assistance for some of the family farms and other businesses that may be forced to go out of business,” Branstad says. The governor made the request last Thursday.
“We have requested four counties, the ones that are the hardest hit. I am hopeful that we will get this help,” according to Branstad.
The request covers Buena Vista County with 16 reported cases; Sioux County with 20 reported cases; Webster County with 1 reported case ,and Wright County with 6 reported cases.
A total of 18 counties have been impacted by the bird flu, with more than 33 million birds that had to be destroyed. The last new case of bird flu reported in the state came in Wright County one week ago on June 16th.