Officials in Midwest States Seek Federal Aid after August Storms

September 7, 2007

Flooding concerns continue to plague states in the Midwest after the latest round of high winds, tornadoes and heavy rain in late August. Some state officials are seeking federal aid to help homeowners and businesses get back on their feet.

Earlier this week, President Bush declared two more northwest Ohio counties major disaster areas, making more federal assistance available to residents and business owners in communities inundated by powerful storms and record flooding.
Hardin and Seneca counties join Allen, Crawford, Hancock, Putnam, Richland and Wyandot counties, which were declared disaster areas Aug. 27, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

Residents can apply for federal grants that will cover the cost of temporary housing and home repairs. The declaration also allows the federal government to offer low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

In Iowa, Gov. Chet Culver has requested federal aid for flood damage that occurred last month in northern and southern Iowa.
Culver sent a letter Tuesday to President Bush seeking a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which would allow Iowa to use an estimated $10.7 million in federal funds to repair homes, businesses, and other property damaged by storms that began Aug. 17.

“I had the opportunity to see firsthand the extensive damage caused by the heavy rains we experienced in August,” Culver said. “I am asking President Bush to declare sections of northern and southern Iowa disaster areas, so that Iowans whose homes sustained major damage can receive federal assistance.”

Culver requested statewide assistance for debris removal, and assistance in more than a dozen counties to repair infrastructure and offer loans, counseling and other help.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also sent a letter to Bush on Tuesday, asking for prompt assistance.

“Much of Iowa was under water following the days of rain that crossed the state in August. These counties deserve all the help we can give them,” Grassley said. “The president’s quick approval will help them get back on their feet as early as possible.”

Culver has asked for household assistance for the following counties: Allamakee, Appanoose, Boone, Calhoun, Clarke, Davis, Humboldt, Mahaska, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Van Buren, Wapello, Wayne, and Webster.

In Michigan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Friday requested federal disaster assistance for farmers in all 83 Michigan counties who face fruit, vegetable and field crop losses because of two separate weather events: the spring frost and freeze and the summer drought.

From April 4 to June 13, the following 29 counties experienced frost and freeze conditions that particularly affected fruit and vegetable production: Alger, Allegan, Antrim, Benzie, Berrien, Cass, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Delta, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Leelanau, Manistee, Marquette, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, Jackson, Oceana, Otsego, Ottawa, Presque Isle, Schoolcraft and Van Buren.

Since April 1, drought conditions have devastated yields of corn, soybeans and other drought-sensitive crops in all 83 counties, Granholm said in a statement.

For Michigan to receive federal disaster status, the original crop loss estimates must be verified from harvest yield data. If losses of 30 percent or more are confirmed and the disaster request is granted, eligible farmers will have access to the federal low-interest emergency loan program for up to 100 percent of their weather-related crop losses.

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