In parts of Iowa, relentless rain triggered flooding that forced residents out of their homes, contrasting sharply with widespread heat gripping much of the US. Early Saturday, sirens pierced the quiet of Rock Valley, Iowa, a town of 4,200, as the overflowing Rock River prompted evacuation orders for hundreds of households. The deluge rendered the city's wells inoperable, leaving residents without running water.

Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo recounted how a state helicopter dispatched to aid the town was stood down as rescue boats successfully reached stranded locals. "The rainfall has been relentless," he remarked. "Last night alone, we received 4 inches of rain in just ninety minutes. Our soil simply cannot absorb any more moisture."

The Governor makes a declaration

Governor Kim Reynolds has urgently called for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Iowa counties devastated by severe storms and extensive flooding starting on June 21st. Her formal request seeks activation of FEMA's Individual Assistance Program and SBA disaster loans for nine counties: Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, and Sioux. Additionally, she has petitioned for FEMA's Public Assistance Program to aid twenty-two counties: Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Floyd, Hancock, Humboldt, Kossuth, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sioux, Webster, Winnebago, Woodbury, Worth, and Wright. 

FEMA's Individual Assistance Program aims to support affected homeowners, renters, and businesses in their recovery efforts, offering assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses, and legal services. Meanwhile, the SBA Disaster Loan Program is intended to provide low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, businesses, and most nonprofits in the affected counties to help rebuild damaged or destroyed properties. 

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The FEMA Public Assistance Program targets funds to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges, culverts, and public facilities. It also covers costs for emergency work during the disaster and debris removal afterward. 

Governor Reynolds has additionally requested funding for statewide hazard mitigation activities, emphasizing the need to enhance Iowa’s resilience and preparedness against future disasters. 

You can read the entire request from the Governor to President Biden here Governor's Request

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