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Senator Grassley backs Gov. Branstad’s request for federal disaster assistance

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:07 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad submitted a request to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, which was echoed shortly after by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

They want Obama to declare Iowa a major disaster area due to severe weather between June 26 through July 7, making the state eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement funding.

They list the 22 hardest-hit counties, including Des Moines, Lee, Mahaska, Muscatine and Washington.

Des Moines County Emergency Manager Gina Hardin said state emergency and FEMA representatives defined the event as a severe weather event and not a flood event and limited the time period from June 26 to July 7, despite flood levels not receding to normal until about July 19.

If Obama declares the event a disaster, the counties’ flood-preparation costs, damages and cleanup costs still will be eligible for reimbursement and will not be limited to storm damage from strong winds, tornadoes and hail, Hardin said.

“The Governor determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments to handle effectively, and federal assistance is needed,” said Grassley’s letter to Obama.

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