MUSCATINE — Louisa County residents may now apply for federal disaster aid. The county was added Wednesday to the Presidential Disaster Declaration granted by President Donald Trump in March.
Louisa County joins seven counties eligible for individual state and federal aid. Eligible individuals and business owners may apply for the federal Individual Assistance Program through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in a few ways. The program provides grants and low-interest loans to help pay for disaster-related expenses including temporary housing and home repairs not covered by insurance or other aid. Coverage may also include eligible medical and dental expenses, and replacement of essential personal property. County residents who have already registered with FEMA do not need to apply again as registration is being processed. Applicants who reported damage to their homes will receive a call from an inspector to schedule a visit.
Before registering with FEMA, individuals and business owners should contact their insurance agent for existing coverage. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for disaster recovery and an insurance settlement or denial must be submitted to FEMA prior to registration. Then damage should be documented through photos, video and a written list.
Registration may be completed online at disasterassistance.gov, by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585, or by downloading the FEMA smart phone app. The deadline to apply is July 1.
Some applicants may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which offers low-interest disaster loans. SBA isn't just for small businesses, loans are available to eligible businesses of any size, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters. Funds help cover the cost to rebuild or repair, and replace lost or damaged property as a result of the disaster. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits from other agencies or organizations. There is no cost to apply for SBA loans and no obligation to accept an SBA loan if approved, but residents and business owners should not wait to apply.
Louisa and Muscatine counties were eligible to apply to the Iowa Individual Assistance Program in April in response to flooding and flash flooding that began in March and is ongoing. The Mississippi River near Port Louisa crested at 23.5 feet last Friday about two feet less than record level. In Muscatine, it crested near record level at just more than 24 feet.
More than 50 of Iowa's 99 counties have received emergency declarations due to flooding this year. Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Woodbury counties along the western edge of the state are also eligible for state and federal aid due to massive Missouri River flooding that inundated communities. Damage has been estimated in those areas to be around $1.2 million.
The window for federal disaster aid remains open as more flooding events may occur yet this season. The deadline to apply for state aid is Sunday.
The presidential declaration also provides assistance to state and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations under the Public Assistance Program and includes funding to conduct hazard mitigation measures across the state.