Biden approves Iowa disaster declaration, unlocking federal funds following extreme flooding

Following major flooding over the weekend in Iowa, President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in the state Monday night and approved federal aid to help recovery efforts.

"The President’s action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Clay, Emmet, Lyon, Plymouth, and Sioux," a White House press release said.

"Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster."

Flooding in northwest Iowa, caused by heavy rainfall, had impacted at least 1,900 properties, leaving hundreds destroyed, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters Sunday.

A drone view shows a flooded area following heavy rainfall in Rock Valley, Iowa, U.S. June 22, 2024, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (PHOTO: Chris VB/via REUTERS) (Chris Vb/Chris VB via Reuters)
A drone view shows a flooded area following heavy rainfall in Rock Valley, Iowa, U.S. June 22, 2024, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (PHOTO: Chris VB/via REUTERS) (Chris Vb/Chris VB via Reuters)

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During Sunday's media briefing, Reynolds said there had been 250 water rescues on Saturday alone, and over 1,000 residents had to be sheltered overnight.

Some areas were hit with up to 15 inches of rain over the weekend, resulting in severe flooding.

Rivers crested several feet above record levels from the floods of 1993, and 16 flood gauges recorded historic levels, Reynolds said.

The state's Department of Natural Resources reported that 10 water systems and 21 wastewater systems had been affected by the flooding.

Reynolds, who took an aerial tour of the region, said Sunday the devastation was severe and widespread.

An initial disaster emergency proclamation for Sioux County was declared earlier in the weekend, according to Reynolds. Additionally, the Iowa National Guard was directed to set up a helicopter for rescue missions. Homeland's Urban Search and Rescue teams were deployed for water rescues, she said.

On Sunday, Reynolds submitted a request for an expedited Presidential Major Disaster Declaration. In that request, the state asked for additional federal assistance for nine counties and public assistance for 22 counties.

The governor's Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, John Benson, said they are still working tirelessly because the situation is far from over. The forecast calls for more rain this week, and the river gauges in the Missouri River are quickly rising, Benson said.

A drone view shows a flooded area following heavy rainfall in Rock Valley, Iowa, U.S. June 22, 2024, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (PHOTO: Chris VB/via REUTERS) (Chris Vb/Chris VB via Reuters)
A drone view shows a flooded area following heavy rainfall in Rock Valley, Iowa, U.S. June 22, 2024, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (PHOTO: Chris VB/via REUTERS) (Chris Vb/Chris VB via Reuters)

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With the additional rain, flooding could continue to be an issue and may impact other parts of the state as well, Reynolds said previously.

In addition to northwest Iowa, west central Iowa, southwest Minnesota, northeast Nebraska, central South Dakota, east central South Dakota, south-central South Dakota, and southeast South Dakota all have a hazardous weather outlook, according to the National Weather Service.

Streams, creeks and rivers are "in moderate to major flood stage leading to continued road closures," per the NWS.

Cheyenne Haslett contributed to this report.

Biden approves Iowa disaster declaration, unlocking federal funds following extreme flooding originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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