Congresswoman Cindy Axne.

Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne says more needs to be done to help Missouri River flooding victims — beyond what’s included in the recently-approved federal disaster aid package.

“We were able, of course, to get the disaster package through,” Axne says. “However, it’s going to take a little bit of time for that money to get out to the communities, so people are struggling, figuring out where they’re going to live, how they’re going to go after the funding that they need. There are still discrepancies with that.”

Axne was in Sidney this week to met with flood victims from Fremont and Mills Counties. Axne says there’s a lack of communication among the agencies responding to the disaster.

“Unfortunately, at the local level what we try to do is pick up those pieces and develop some type of cohesiveness for folks who have been affected by the disaster,” she says, “because it’s really difficult for them to figure out where they need to go to get the funding they need.”

Axne, the governor and Iowa’s two U.S. Senators are pressuring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to change its Missouri River management practices, so flood control is the top priority.

“They’re working off of old processes where they don’t notify people of imminent danger as early as they could,” Axne says. “We need to revise their mapping. They’re working off mapping that’s from the ’90s and so they’re not looking at the environmental issues of today that are different.”

Officials in two southwest Iowa counties this week asked state officials to start the paperwork for federal buy-outs of flood-damaged homes that would be demolished. Mills County officials have identified up to 150 properties, primarily in rural areas, for potential clearing after federal buy-outs. Between 50 and 60 properties in Fremont County, mostly in Hamburg, were identified as potential candidates for a federal buy-out.

(Reporting by Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah)