Washington D.C. -- President Barack Obama has issued a disaster declaration for six western Iowa counties damaged by tornadoes and other severe storms last month.
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin and Republican Congressman Steve King all issued statements Thursday saying that the declaration triggers the release of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to help Iowa recover from the storms on April 9-10.
FEMA will provide assistance to Buena Vista, Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Pocahontas and Sac counties.
"This disaster declaration is vital as we continue the recovery process. Now the public buildings that were affected can get the help they need to rebuild," said Harkin. "I am pleased that the administration acted quickly to approve Governor Branstad's request."
"The severe storms that swept through Iowa on April 9 and 10 left many communities in western Iowa hurting," said King. King also stated, "With today's major disaster declaration, communities in Buena Vista, Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Pocahontas and Sac counties will be eligible to receive public assistance funding for the repair, restoration, reconstruction, or replacement of public facilities or infrastructure that were damaged by the storms. After I reviewed the extensive damage in Mapleton, I expressed confidence that the communities affected by these storms would rebound and rebuild because of the resilience of the people within them. Hopefully, the resources made available by this declaration will further the efforts of those who are working to make their communities whole once again."
The agency will help state and local government and certain nonprofits. The money could also be used to rebuild damaged roads and bridges and cover the cost of emergency work and debris removal.
Gov. Terry Branstad asked for declaration on April 26. "I am pleased to see the Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for these six counties came through," Branstad said. "This will provide Iowans the resources we will need to recover from this recent round of tornados and severe weather."