Branstad Seeks Presidential Disaster Declaration
Gov. Terry Branstad has formally requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration for nearly 20 counties in Iowa following severe storms and flooding last month.
Today, Branstad signed letter to be delivered to President Barack Obama asking for a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which, if approved, would provide public assistance for agencies in 19 counties impacted by severe storms and flooding from Sept. 21-23, 2016. The request does not include activation of the federal Individual Assistance program as the damage incurred did not meet the FEMA criteria.
The counties included in this request are: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Des Moines, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Howard, Linn, Mitchell, Winneshiek and Wright.
The governor requested funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program, which is used to rebuild damaged infrastructure that may include roads, bridges, culverts and other public facilities, or to cover costs of emergency work during, and debris removal after, the storms. A joint federal, state, and local preliminary damage assessment of the 19 counties found the severe weather caused an estimated $22 million worth of damage that could be eligible under the Public Assistance Program.
The governor also requested funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state. The letter can be read in its entirety here.
This request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration does not include a request for the federal Individual Assistance Program, which provides assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses to pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other disaster-related expenses.
On October 5, 2016, the State of Iowa and FEMA completed a joint preliminary damage assessment for federal Individual Assistance. That assessment indicated that the number of uninsured homes that suffered major damage or were destroyed during this event fell far below the FEMA threshold to request funding under the Individual Assistance Program.
Gov. Branstad then focused his efforts on obtaining a Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration, to make low-interest loans available to impacted residents and businesses. The SBA subsequently granted a declaration for Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, and Hardin counties. The SBA has opened a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Butler County to assist residents in applying for loans.
Governor creates flood recovery task force
As part of his continuing effort to assist Iowans in their recovery from this summer’s flooding and severe weather, Branstad announced today the creation of a flood recovery task force to address the unmet needs of impacted residents.
“This task force has been established to help meet the unmet needs of those who have sustained damage from the recent flooding,” said Branstad. “Members of the task force will bring with them a number of resources and creative solutions to help communities and people rebuild their homes, businesses, and most importantly, their lives.”
The task force, which is comprised of state and local agencies, will focus on working with communities to develop long-term housing recovery options.