DES MOINES - As the two-year anniversary of the devastating floods and tornadoes that struck Iowa in May and June 2008 nears, disaster assistance approval for residents and governments in Cherokee County has reached $135,856 according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State of Iowa disaster recovery officials.
Depending on the county allocations, this total reflects the combined sum of the FEMA/State Individual Assistance Program, the Public Assistance program, the Hazard Mitigation program, and the U.S. Small Business Administration's low-interest disaster loans.
The State/FEMA Public Assistance program has obligated $71,856 to the state for reimbursements in Cherokee County for government related eligible expenses in the area of emergency response measures, debris removal and repair or restoration of disaster damaged public infrastructure. Certain non-profits providing essential services also may be eligible for reimbursement under the program.
A FEMA-State Mitigation approved grant for Cherokee County provides $64,000 for mitigation planning. Through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) 75 percent of the total project cost is federally funded and the remaining 25 percent is state-local funds.
Currently, HMGP funded projects include planning, acquisition, safe room and infrastructure. The HMGP provides grants to states, territories, Indian tribal governments, local government, and private nonprofit organizations to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures following a Presidential disaster declaration.
Disasters have grown in frequency and severity; the costs of response and recovery have escalated to unsustainable levels. Nationwide, natural disasters cost more than $50 million a year. The most effective way to reduce these excessive losses is through disaster preparedness and mitigation. For every dollar spent in damage prevention two-to-three dollars are saved in future repairs.
Statewide, FEMA/State of Iowa disaster grants and SBA loans now total more than $1.4 billion to help Iowa renters, homeowners, businesses and governments recover from the tornadoes and flooding that affected Iowa between May 25 and August 13, 2008.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses..