President Trump declares major disaster in 56 Iowa counties after flooding

After severe flooding in Iowa, President Trump approved Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request for a major disaster declaration in 56 of 57 requested counties.



President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn before boarding Marine One at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA/TNS)

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

President Trump declared a major disaster Saturday for 56 counties in Iowa due to flooding that began March 12 near the Missouri river and in other parts of the state.

The declaration, which allows Iowans to apply for federal assistance after flooding, spans more than half of the Hawkeye state’s 99 counties, most of which are located in the southwestern part of the state.

All 56 counties were approved for federal assistance from FEMA to aid public entities and certain nonprofit organizations.

Five of those counties were approved for federal individual assistance, aid which eligible homeowners, renters, and businesses can apply for. Residents of Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, and Woodbury counties are eligible.

The declaration also approved funding for hazard mitigation activities for all of Iowa, which according to a release from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, will be used to reduce future risk from natural hazards like flooding.

Trump’s declaration comes two days following a major disaster declaration for the state of Nebraska and four days after Vice President Mike Pence visited flooded areas in Nebraska with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the governor of Nebraska.

Reynolds requested an expedited major disaster declaration for 57 counties Thursday. The only county of the 57 that was not approved for any federal assistance was Black Hawk county. In her request, Reynolds estimated the damage would amount to about $1.6 billion. That price tag includes about $350,000 to repair or replace 70 miles of levee.

“Today’s announcement from President Trump approving our emergency declaration will be instrumental to Iowa’s recovery,” Reynolds said in a released statement. “We are incredibly grateful for the president’s consistent and timely action in the face of disaster. The road to recovery will be long, but it’s clear that Iowans will have the resources we need to rebuild.”

The 56 counties eligible for federal public assistance include Adair, Allamakee, Audubon, Boone, Bremer, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dallas, Decatur, Dickinson, Emmet, Fayette, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jasper, Kossuth, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marshall, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, O’Brien, Osceola, Page, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Tama, Union, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, and Wright.

Individuals and business-owners within the five counties approved for federal individual assistance can begin applying by registering online or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time), seven days a week, until further notice.