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FEMA individual assistance approved for Cherokee, Buena Vista, O'Brien counties

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Cherokee, Buena Vista and O’Brien Counties have been approved for individual assistance under the FEMA Major Disaster Declaration. Governor Kim Reynolds announced the approval Friday afternoon. 

FEMA approved public assistance for Cherokee last month, which provides aid to cover city losses. The individual assistance will support residential properties. 

FEMA has been assessing damage in Iowa counties “where significant damage was sustained from severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds and tornadoes that started on June 16, 2024, and continuing,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. 

Emergency Manager Justin Pritts provided a tour of Cherokee last weekend when federal FEMA and Department of Homeland Security representatives visited town to assess flood damage. 

“The number one thing that I have heard by far and above is, I’m going to leave my house exactly the way it is and I’m going to take the FEMA buyout,” said Pritts at Monday’s Cherokee City Council meeting. 

Pritts strongly warned against abandoning homes that have been flooded. “Six months from now you still have to deal with it. It is your property. Six months from now it’s going to be moldy, terrible mess,” he said. 

Additionally, Pritts advised home and business owners with flood damage to document it with photos and videos. “That’s the most important part,” he said. 

Ensuring buildings are dry would prevent a “bad public health problem down the line,” Pritts added. 

The FEMA individual assistance program has already been activated for Clay, Emmet, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux Counties. 

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