DES MOINES, Iowa -- More snow this week will slow down the process of removing the debris created by the severe winter storm of Dec. 10-11, but the disaster recovery process is moving forward.
While not working directly on debris removal, teams from Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are working on other recovery steps with state agencies, local governments and certain eligible private nonprofit organizations in 30 Iowa counties designated for federal assistance by President Bush in a major disaster declaration.
"While FEMA reimburses eligible disaster recovery costs, actually carrying out programs like debris removal falls to the state and local agencies," Justo Hernandez, federal coordinating officer, said.
FEMA's Public Assistance program reimburses state and local governments and certain eligible private nonprofit organizations 75 percent of eligible debris removal costs and other recovery efforts designed to rebuild the infrastructure. The state of Iowa is paying 10 percent, with the remaining 15 percent the responsibility of local applicants. Damage has to be the direct result of the disaster and not covered by insurance to be eligible.
Because snowfalls have covered tree limbs and other debris with up to a foot of snow, removal efforts have been delayed especially in southern and south east Iowa, officials stressed. They asked residents to be careful around debris piles and for their patience until the debris can be safely and effectively removed.
State and federal Public Assistance staff have completed Applicants' Briefings and are now meeting with local officials to develop Project Work Sheets that describe or estimate costs for the emergency services and debris removal necessitated by the December storm.
Local authorities have six months to complete debris cleanup, starting with the Jan.4 date of the federal disaster declaration. The counties under the declaration are Adair, Adams, Appanoose, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Iowa, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Lucas, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington and Wayne.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.