Gov. Kim Reynolds formally requested an expedited Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Iowa communities and counties that have been severely impacted by the devastating derecho storm that occurred on Monday, August 10th, 2020.
“From cities to farms, Iowans are hurting, many still have challenges with shelter, food, and power. Resilience is in our DNA, but we’re going to need a strong and timely federal response to support recovery efforts,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I have formally requested an expedited Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to secure this critical federal assistance as quickly as possible. This past week I had conversations with President Trump and Vice President Pence, both have pledged the full support of the federal government. I am very grateful for their continued partnership and commitment during this disaster.”
In the request to the president, Gov. Reynolds also indicated the State of Iowa will need an estimated $3,998,010,354 from our federal partners to recover from this unprecedented event.
The governor requested funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program for twenty-seven counties. These counties include: Audubon, Benton, Boone, Cass, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Madison, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, and Washington counties. Individual Assistance Program funding provides disaster-impacted homeowners and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services.
Gov. Reynolds also requested funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program for the repair or replacement of public infrastructure and debris removal, for sixteen counties. These counties include: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama counties.
Work to develop the request letter began immediately following the severe storms and involved a multi-level approach led by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Historically the department works with local officials to gather damage estimates that would be included in the request letter. In this instance, many local agencies are still responding to the impacts and have not been able to complete detailed damage estimates. The governor asked the department to leverage technology as well as historical data to create the damage estimates found within the request letter. This allowed local agencies to continue to focus on immediate response needs while allowing the department to create the letter signed by the governor.
“With rapid approval, this declaration will provide a significant level of federal resources to support the state and local response,” Gov. Reynolds continues. “ While it is unconventional for a major disaster declaration request of this magnitude to be assembled and approved within a matter of days, it is essential that our request is expedited and approved as quickly as possible.”
The damage estimates included in the governor’s request to the president were generated by using photographs, aerial photography, and GIS analysis. The current estimate is 8,273 homes being destroyed or suffering major damage. Additionally, it is estimated that $23.6 million of damage occurred to public infrastructure with an additional $21.6 million in cost associated with removal and disposal of debris from the storm.