FEMA Denies Gov. Reynolds’ Appeal for Disaster Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office that the governor’s appeal for disaster assistance for flood victims in Buchanan, Dickinson, Polk and Winnebago counties is denied.

On Aug. 1, Gov. Reynolds requested that the federal Individual Assistance Program be made available to residents and businesses affected by severe storms and flooding from June 6-July 2. On Aug. 22, FEMA notified Gov. Reynolds that her request was denied. The governor sent an appeal letter to FEMA on Sept. 11.

Individual assistance funding provides victims with programs and services to maximize recovery. In the denial letter, FEMA said a review reaffirmed the original finding that the impact was not severe or widespread enough for individual assistance. President Donald Trump declared the four counties a presidential disaster in August, making public assistance funds available.

In June, in response to the severe storms and flooding, Gov. Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for all four counties. The proclamation activated the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant and Disaster Case Management programs for qualifying residents. The programs have already provided more than $2.8 million of assistance to more than 1,000 households impacted by these disasters.

After learning of FEMA’s denial of her appeal, Gov. Reynolds requested assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA). A SBA declaration would make low-interest disaster loans available to Polk County, along with seven contiguous counties: Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Warren and Story.

If the request is granted, residents in those eight counties will receive more information from the SBA on where and how to apply for assistance. A decision on the request is expected to be made soon. Buchanan, Dickinson and Winnebago counties did not meet the damage thresholds required to activate SBA assistance.