Iowa Gov. Reynolds requests almost $4 billion in federal disaster aid after devastating derecho

Midwest

Cecil Gott removes a fallen tree that rests on the back of a neighbor’s home, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Gov. Kim Reynolds pushed back Friday against criticism that she has been slow to respond to a wind storm that devastated the state and promised more help soon for tens of thousands of residents entering their fifth day without electricity. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa (NewsNation/WHO) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has requested an expedited Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to provide $3.99 billion in federal aid to help the state recover from last week’s derecho.

In the 36 counties hit hardest by the storm, 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans were impacted. Most of the federal aid would be allocated to help recover these losses, which are estimated to be $3.77 billion.

The rest of the federal aid would go to public assistance, private utilities and homes with major damage. Public assistance funding would receive more than $45 million to pay for things like debris removal and damage to utilities and buildings. About $100 million in funding would be given to private utilities. More than $82 million would provided to homes that suffered major damage.

The requested funding from FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program is for 27 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 assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services.

The governor also requested funding from 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.

The damage estimates included in the governor’s request to the president were created by using photographs, aerial photography and GIS analysis. They estimate 8,273 homes were destroyed or suffered 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.

Historically, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has worked with local officials to gather damage estimates. But many local agencies are still responding to the impacts and have not been able to complete detailed damage estimates. That’s why photographs, aerial photography and GIS analysis were used to generate the estimates.

“With rapid approval, this declaration will provide a significant level of federal resources to support the state and local response,” Reynolds said. “ 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.”

Reynolds said President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both pledged the full support of the federal government.

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