I’m sure many of you remember the 1993 floods in Iowa and hoped and prayed that we would never see anything like that again. Unfortunately, this has been a devastating spring for our state and thousands of Iowans are suffering from tornado damage, wind damage and severe flooding. From the estimates and information I've seen, the floods and severe weather this year will top the damage and destruction we saw in 1993.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Cedar Valley citizens who have suffered a loss from the floods or tornados of 2008. As your state representative, it is my goal to do all I can to help Iowans get the assistance they need to get back on their feet. I also want to thank all the volunteers who have helped victims begin the recovery process from this terrible tragedy.
Since the flooding began, Gov. Culver has declared 83 counties to be state disasters. Gov. Culver has also requested to the President, via FEMA, that ALL of these counties be declared federal major disaster areas. So far, the President has declared 24 of those counties to be federal disaster areas, which in each county has activated either the federal Individual Assistance (homes & businesses) or Public Assistance (infrastructure) programs. Black Hawk County has been activated for both federal programs. Gov. Culver is aggressively pushing FEMA to expedite the presidential declarations for the remaining 59 counties; and was publicly assured by FEMA Director Paulison on his visit to Iowa Friday that FEMA would work round the clock to complete preliminary damage assessments and get declarations moving.
The Governor has mobilized the Iowa National Guard and General Ron Dardis says that 2,000 troops are ready. Approximately 640 Guard members and Airmen have already been deployed to 38 missions around the state. Nine emergency shelters across Iowa have been opened with the help of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) responded to requests from public health workers in Black Hawk County to assist with medical care for those evacuated because of the flooding. The IDPH Mobile Health Care Facility was sent to Waterloo.
The mental health division of the Department of Human Services has been involved in disaster mental health planning and delivery efforts. Application to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has been made to secure emergency crisis counseling monies for those counties that have been federally declared disaster areas to date. For those counties that have a state disaster declaration, the Division is working to provide immediate support and assistance and will work to supplement the efforts of the mental health centers, as requested in the affected areas.
If you have been affected by floods, I encourage you to apply for federal assistance as soon as possible. FEMA officials will be on the ground for preliminary inspections Black Hawk County. Here is information you will need as we move forward:
* To apply for the FEMA Individual Assistance Program, call 1-800-621-3362 or apply online here: www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm
* Visit www.fema.gov/individual/grant.shtm to learn more about the type of assistance available through FEMA. Individuals or small business owners planning to seek FEMA assistance should keep detailed records and receipts. Pictures of damaged property are also helpful.
* Residents in Cedar Falls impacted by the flooding must contact the Building Inspection Office at 268-5161 or 256-5156 so that an Inspection Official can authorize re-entry to the home. Residents must use extreme caution, as it may be unsafe to enter homes due to structural, electrical, gas and sanitation concerns. Please refer to the attached information from FEMA www.cedarfalls.com/DocumentView.asp?DID=335 regarding precautions to take after a flood.
* The Mayor of Cedar Falls has lifted the Mandatory Order that was issued on June 13 requiring all restaurants, bars and hotels in the downtown area to remain closed. All restaurants, bars and hotels in the downtown area may open for regular business effective immediately. The downtown pumps are making sufficient progress to allow the re-opening of these restaurants, bars and hotels.
* All adults and children who have been impacted by flooding or volunteers for relief efforts should make sure their tetanus shot is up to date. Today, June 17, there will be tetanus shots available at North Cedar School from 3-7.
* Additional assistance is available through the Iowa Concern Hotline at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/ or by calling 800-447-1985. The Iowa Concern Hotline offers stress counselors, legal & financial information, or help to identify the appropriate resources that may help in a particular situation.
* For continuous updates and information about the floods, visit www.flood2008.iowa.gov . The site includes volunteer information, recovery efforts, resources available shelter information and road closures.
I have included a list of contacts for people impacted by the flooding.
Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Temporary Customer Support Number (7 am - 9 pm): 1-866-452-8510 Note this is not an emergency number. This number is intended to assist travelers navigating state roadway closings. If you have an emergency, please call 911. According to the DOT, this number is extremely busy, so if you get a busy signal please call back.)
Road Closures: Check www.511ia.org
Volunteer Opportunities: (as of Sunday, June 15) – Check back to website for more info.
Volunteers are needed in every part of the state - rebuilding communities and rebuilding lives. Every Iowan can serve, and every Iowan is needed. Employer flexibility is an essential key in statewide deployment of volunteers. For information about volunteer opportunities in your own community and across the state call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.
Please note, stay out of areas affected by flooding unless you are directed to be there. Emergency personnel need free access to these areas, and onlookers affect emergency operations.
United Way of Central Iowa 515.246.6500
United Way of East Central Iowa 319.739.4211
United Way of North Central Iowa 641.423.1774
United Way of Johnson County 319.338.7823
Cedar Valley United Way 319.235.6211
Other United Way Links
American Red Cross
- Website [http://dbs.extension.iastate.edu/answers/projects/iowaconcern/questions/]
- Phone: 1-800-447-1985
- Phone: 1-800-GET-INFO (1-800-438-4636)
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration)
- Website [http://www.fema.gov/news/event.fema?id=3023]
- Phone: 1-800-621-3622
- TTY (Hearing Impaired): 1-800-462-7585
Iowa 211 - Resources and Support Services In Your Area
- Website [http://www3.irissoft.com/iowa/]
- Phone: Dial 211 for service.
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
County Emergency Management Agencies
- Website [http://www.iowahomelandsecurity.org/Partners/CountyCoordinators/tabid/67/Default.aspx]
Iowa Attorney General - Consumer Protection
- Website [http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/index.html]
- Phone: 1-888-777-4590 or 515-281-5926
Iowa State Extension
- Website - Flood Clean Up & more [http://www.extension.iastate.edu/disasterrecovery/flood.html]