IOWA DERECHO 2020

Donald Trump signs Iowa derecho disaster declaration

President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday,
President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

DES MOINES — Moving with derecho-like speed, President Donald Trump said Monday he has signed an emergency declaration for Iowa in response to a request the state made for at least $4 billion in federal aid to deal with property and crop damage caused by last week’s hurricane-force weather destruction.

“I just approved an emergency declaration for Iowa, who had an incredible windstorm like probably they’ve never seen before,” the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn before boarding Marine One for a Midwest trip. Officials said Trump will visit Cedar Rapids on Tuesday.

“It really did a lot of damage,” said Trump, who indicated he informed Gov. Kim Reynolds and other Iowa officials of his decision to approve an emergency declaration for Iowa less than a day after the request was made.

Reynolds filed an expedited presidential major disaster declaration on Sunday seeking nearly $4 billion — including $3.77 billion to cover damage to corn and soybeans in 36 Iowa counties hit hard last week when a derecho with hurricane-grade wind gusts topping 100 mph destroyed or extensively damaged at least 8,273 homes at an estimated costs of $82.7 million.

The unprecedented weather event also caused $100 million in damage to private utilities still struggling to return power to storm-stricken communities, along with $45.3 million in public assistance needs for Iowans caught in the storm’s path. Of the nearly $45.3 million request, $21.6 million could cover debris removal, $14.46 million for utilities and $7.53 million for buildings.

On the agricultural said, the U.S. Agriculture Department estimated 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans were impacted in 36 hardest-hit counties for an estimated loss of $3.77 billion.

Reynolds, who has enlisted the help of nearly 200 Iowa National Guard members, on Sunday formally requested an expedited presidential major disaster declaration for Iowa communities and counties that have been severely impacted by the devastating derecho storm that occurred Aug. 10.

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Under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program, the president said he approved assistance for 27 Iowa counties: Audubon, Benton, Boone, Cass, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Madison, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama, and Washington.

Individual Assistance Program funding provides disaster-impacted homeowners and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services.

Reynolds also requested funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program for the repair or replacement of public infrastructure and debris removal for 16 counties: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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