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President Trump approves federal aid for Linn County, but 26 other counties are still under review


President Donald Trump laughs with local leaders during a brief visit to Cedar Rapids in the wake of the Aug. 10 derecho, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. — video still

On Thursday night, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced President Trump had partially approved her request for federal aid for individuals and businesses affected by the Aug. 10 derecho.

On Monday, the president approved the Public Assistance part of Reynolds’ major disaster declaration request. FEMA Public Assistance provides federal aid for the repair of public infrastructure and debris removal. That aid was worth $45 million. The rest of the $3.98 billion Reynolds requested was Individual Assistance.

FEMA Individual Assistance provides aid directly to individuals and businesses. During President Trump’s 70-minute stopover at the Eastern Iowa Airport on Tuesday, both Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart and Marion Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly told the president how important that aid would be to Iowans.

Trump asked Hart how many people in Cedar Rapids would be eligible for Individual Assistance funds. The mayor estimated 55,000 would be.

“That’s big. Huh? That’s amazing,” Trump said. “OK, we’ll take care of it, mayor.”

Reynolds requested FEMA Individual Assistance funds for 27 counties, but Trump only approved assistance for Linn County on Thursday. Federal aid for the other 26 counties is still under review, the news release from the governor’s office said.

According to the governor’s office, “Residents of Linn County can now apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual Assistance Program, which provides disaster-affected homeowners, renters, and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses, and legal services.”

“Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for TTY users. Users of 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST, seven days a week, until further notice. Another option is registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.”

Residents and businesses in the other 26 counties can still apply for aid from the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program. Because Linn County residents and businesses can now receive aid through FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, they are no longer eligible for the state program.


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