Des Moines, Iowa -- In the 18 months since a tornado leveled parts of Parkersburg and New Hartford, and floods covered much of Iowa, more than $1.27 billion has been approved for response and recovery programs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Iowa’s Homeland Security and EMD, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. These programs were authorized under the Presidential disaster declaration (FEMA-1763-DR-IA) made on May 25, 2008.
In that time, Iowans have rebuilt, repaired, or removed much of what the twister and flood waters left behind.
“The 2008 tornado and floods dealt a serious blow to Iowa and many of its citizens,” said Kay Phillips, Director of the Iowa Recovery Center. “We know some things will never be the same, but Iowans are restoring and rebuilding their communities with not just financial assistance but a determination that is remarkable.”
“For many Iowans, the last year and a half held unprecedented challenges,” said Pat Hall, State Coordinating Officer. “Their success in meeting those challenges was due in part to the coordinated efforts of governmental agencies, businesses, voluntary agencies, and dedicated individuals from around the state.”
Committed to long-term recovery in Iowa, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Iowa’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) established the Iowa Recovery Center (IRC) in Urbandale to jointly administer the major recovery programs – Public Assistance, Individual Assistance and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program – until June of 2011. The IRC was established Aug. 31, 2009, when it transitioned from the FEMA / State Joint Field Office, and will continue oversight and management of recovery programs for the 2008 disaster declaration as well as five other existing presidentially declared Iowa disasters that occurred between 2004 and 2008. The Center also has offices in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, and a staging area in Dike for demobilized mobile homes.
Recovery to date from the 2008 disaster has included assistance from many sources:
The Public Assistance Program funds the repair and rebuilding of public facilities damaged in a declared disaster. These projects include public buildings, roads and bridges, and other facilities owned by governmental agencies and certain non-profit organizations. Cost of such projects is shared between the federal government and the state and the local jurisdiction or applicant – 75 percent federal; 25 percent state and local. Because of the magnitude of damages from the 2008 tornadoes and floods, the state requested and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved an increase in the federal government share to 90 percent of approved cost. The State of Iowa pays the remaining 10 percent, saving the local applicants their cost-share.
To date, $817 million has been obligated for more than 10,000 Iowa projects under the Public Assistance Program. Some examples are:
- Flood damage closed the popular, city-owned Jones Golf Course clubhouse in Cedar Rapids. Eighteen months later, the totally renovated municipal building reopened at a cost of $279,091. Public Assistance funds from FEMA totaling $251,181 (90 percent) plus $27,910 (10 percent) from the state fully funded the clubhouse project.
- The Cedar Rapids school district is rebuilding its support and administrative services facility with nearly $12.5 million from FEMA’s Public Assistance funds and $125,000 (10 percent) from the state of Iowa.
- FEMA reimbursed Parkersburg-New Hartford $5 million for debris removal shortly after the tornado struck. Debris removal is an expensive but necessary critical step in most disaster recoveries. ...