Monday, February 1, 2010

The State of Iowa has requested federal disaster assistance for 27 counties, not just the six designated by the state because of the Jan. 20 ice storm.

In his request to President Obama late last week, Gov. Chet Culver sought aid for counties affected by winter storms Dec. 23-27 and Jan. 19-26.

State officials say Iowa has sustained at least $26 million in damage.

“Parts of Iowa were brought to a standstill after ice and snow covered the state. Iowans have had a terrible time restoring power and digging out after record snowfall and ice storms moved through,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said.

“Quick approval of the requested assistance would go a long way in helping Iowans recover from these record storms.”

Grassley and the rest of Iowa’s congressional delegation sent letters to the president supporting a federal disaster declaration.

“State and municipal roads have been blocked by debris and snow from these extreme weather events. Snow budgets have been stressed and rural citizens are finding themselves in dangerous situations,” Harkin wrote.

Federal assistance would cover 75 percent of damage and cleanup expenses for public infrastructure. The state would contribute 10 to 15 percent, with local governments covering the rest.

Culver also announced Friday that the State Individual Assistance Program will provide up to $5,000 in storm-damage reimbursement for an individual whose income is up to double the poverty level. Information is available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website (www.dhs.state.ia.us) or by phoning 877-937-3663.

State assistance is available for victims of price gouging for storm-related expenses. Information is available on the Attorney General’s Office website (www.state.ia.us/government/ag) or by phoning 888-777-4590.

Iowans with immediate needs can call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985.

Since the amount and timing of federal assistance isn’t known, Emergency Management is asking all Carroll County residents that are physically and financially able to clean up their properties.

“At least get your tree branches to the curb. If you can get everything to the landfill or a dump site by yourself or by hiring a tree service, please do so,” said commission director Jeff Cayler. “We’re making this request because that will free up the limited resources for those people not physically or financially able to do cleanup themselves.”

Carroll County is competing with 26 others for limited state and federal resources, he noted.

“A lot of people have already done what we’re talking about,” said Cayler. “It’s amazing to be only a week out from the ice storm and see how many people have already cleaned everything up. That’s the spirit of the people of Carroll County. We roll up our sleeves and get after it.”

Inmates from the Rockwell City Correctional Facility were picking up branches for the elderly and infirm in Carroll last week and again today. About 20 prisoners are working eight-hour shifts.

They’ll be working in other Carroll County communities for the next two weeks.

Senior citizens and persons with special needs that need help moving storm debris to curbs should contact their respective local officials or phone Emergency management at 775-2166.