Washington, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid was made available today for Iowa to help people and communities recover from a bout of flooding rains that hit the eastern part of the state earlier this month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said the assistance was authorized under a major disaster declaration issued for the state by President Bush. The declaration covers damage to private and public property from severe storms and flooding that began June 3.
Immediately after the President's action, Allbaugh designated the following 17 counties eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners: Allamakee, Benton, Buchanan, Cedar, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Iowa, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Muscatine, Scott and Winneshiek.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Additionally, Allbaugh said federal funds will be provided for the state and affected local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for restoring damaged public facilities in the counties of Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson, Jones and Linn. The declaration also makes cost-shared funding available to the state for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that damage surveys are continuing and additional counties may be designated for aid later based on the results of the assessments. He named Scott Wells of FEMA to coordinate the federal relief effort.
Wells said those who sustained losses in the17 counties designated for aid to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available starting Thursday, June 20, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.