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Grassley confident that those who qualify will get federal derecho aid

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Chuck Grassley 1

July 31: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, talks about a prospective coronavirus-related stimulus bill at a Q&A in Mason City on Friday.

It’s not a matter of if, but when federal assistance will be available for Iowans who suffered damage in the Aug. 10 derecho, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday.

Some of the counties affected by the hurricane-force winds will qualify for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for damage to homes and property when detailed surveys are completed, Grassley said.

“When the dollars actually arrive, I don’t know,” Grassley told reporters, “but there’s no question about the dollars arriving for individuals or for cities or for whatever the law allows. If you qualify, you’re going to get the help.”

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According to initial estimates, Iowa sustained at least $4 billion in damage from the derecho. That included at least 8,273 homes destroyed or with major damage at an estimated cost of $82.7 million;  $23.6 million in estimated damage to public infrastructure; $21.6 million in costs associated with removal and disposal of storm debris; and about $100 million in damage to private utilities. The remainder, $3.77 billion, was damage to crops in the 36 hardest-hit counties.

The Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday called Trump’s promise of relief a “blatant lie” and said he continues to refuse full aid to 26 of 27 counties in need of assistance. Less than 2 percent of the $4 billion in aid sought by the state has been approved.

At present, Linn County is the only area that has received a presidential disaster declaration designation that includes individual assistance. Linn County residents may apply for FEMA individual assistance that provides disaster-affected homeowners, renters and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services.

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To apply, individuals and business owners who sustained losses may call 1- (800) 621-3362 or 1- (800) 462-7585 for TTY users, or visit disasterrecovery.iowa.gov.

According to the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, surveys were expected to be wrapped up in 17 counties last week. Nine counties withdrew applications based on their inability to meet the program’s threshold, according to department Director Joyce Flinn.

The state also is looking to add eight counties to those where the Gov. Kim Reynolds requested FEMA public assistance funding for the repair or replacement of public infrastructure and debris removal.  

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Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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