Obama Declares Disaster for 26 Iowa Counties

By Rod Boshart, Gazette Des Moines Bureau

DES MOINES, Iowa — President Barack Obama on Thursday approved Iowa’s request for a presidential disaster declaration for 26 counties that were adversely impacted by severe weather in June, according to Gov. Terry Branstad’s office.

Iowa counties included in the presidential declaration are Allamakee, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Butler, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Humboldt, Ida, Kossuth, Lyon, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, and Wright.

Branstad made the request for federal assistance on July 14 in response to significant damage that was caused by severe storms, damaging winds, tornadoes, heavy rain, hail and flooding that occurred June 14-23. Thursday’s announcement marked Iowa’s second presidential disaster declaration in 2014 and the 20th since March 2007.

The governor’s office noted that additional requests for a presidential disaster declaration may be sent at a later date after the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department completes ongoing damage assessments in other counties affected by severe weather,

The presidential declaration will provide federal funding to the declared counties under the Public Assistance Program, which includes long-term federal recovery programs — some of which are matched by state programs — and designed to help public entities and select non-profits.

The Public Assistance funds may be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and may include debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools.

The governor also received notification that the presidential disaster declaration includes funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state. With this funding, Iowa will be able to minimize the impact of future disasters by taking steps now to strengthen existing infrastructure.

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@sourcemedia.net

Presidential Disaster Declaration

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