Federal officials visited Decorah Tuesday to review recent storm damage.
Representatives from Winneshiek County Secondary Roads, County Conservation, City of Decorah, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Emergency Management met with Iowa Homeland Security - Emergency Management (IHSEM) and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Wednesday at the Decorah Law Enforcement Center.
Marisol Rodriguez, FEMA representative from Kansas City, and Larry Gioffredi, IHSEM Johnston, Iowa, were making an initial assessment visit to review storm damages from Friday, June 21, and following. They interviewed the local representatives to determine the extent of public infrastructure loss from flash flooding, wind damage and other storm-related causes. The process of obtaining aid to come to a county or community is based on the amount of public infrastructure damage in relation to the population of the affected area.
Once the Governor's office has issued a Disaster Declaration to a county, this starts the process to determine if a Presidential Disaster Declaration can be obtained to aid in recovery. Winneshiek County has already received a Governor's Disaster Declaration that has opened the Iowa Individual Assistance program to aid those who meet the requirements of income below 200 percent of the poverty level for the number of persons in the household.
Following the morning's meeting, Gioffredi stated that Winneshiek County's losses have exceeded the amount needed for the county's loss level; however, the state disaster loss level from this storm must be reached before a request for a Presidential Declaration can be requested. It is for this reason that multiple counties' losses are joined together to achieve that dollar amount.
In this case, IHSEM and FEMA will view damages from adjacent counties in Iowa in an effort to reach a storm loss total that exceeds FEMA's loss requirement for Iowa.
This process is expected to take this week; a loss description will be drafted and forwarded upward to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA's parent organization. Following a review of the loss document, a decision will be made and returned to Iowa sometime next week.
Winneshiek County Emergency Management Coordinator Bruce Goetsch advised those who might be eligible for assistance for Iowa Individual Assistance should contact the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation for application forms to start the process. The assistance process is based on replacement costs and is limited both in gross amount and in some categories; receipts must be provided and show dates from after the storm.