Omaha Public Radio News
1:55 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

President Obama authorizes Presidential Major Disaster Declaration requested by Governor Branstad

Omaha, NE – President Obama recently authorized a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance for six Iowa counties.

The declaration covers Benton, Clay, Dickinson, Marshall, Story and Tama counties for storms that happened between July 9th and 14th. John Benson, Public Information Officer for Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management says the declaration activates federal programs that are typically administered by FEMA.

He says federal aid for the windstorm related disaster is primarily focused on two areas, "Debris removal, to get all of the torn down trees and everything out of the area. The funding is there for local governments to recover that. And then any type of infrastructure-related damage. You know, in a windstorm you're typically going to see a lot of damage to electrical utility distributions systems, so you're going to see a lot there."

Benson says this declaration does not provide aid to homeowners. He says the damage that occurred during the storms to individual residences was not enough to qualify for federal aid.

Benson suggests individuals log on to fema.gov to see what other grants or low-interest loans might be available to help them in the recovery process.