President Donald Trump has approved Federal Emergency Management Agency funding for eastern Iowa’s Linn County, which was the county that was hardest hit by last week’s rare hurricane-strength windstorm.
Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced the approval. The FEMA individual assistance program helps homeowners, renters, and businesses affected by natural disasters. It includes assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services.
The approval was welcomed Friday in the county’s largest city, Cedar Rapids, which suffered widespread damage from the Aug. 10 storm that saw winds of up to 140 mph.
“This will provide much needed support to a number of critical needs in our community,” city manager Jeff Pomeranz said at a news conference.
Nearly 8,000 homes and businesses in the Cedar Rapids area remained without power Friday afternoon, some 11 days after the storm, an Alliant Energy official said.
“For those of you still without power, we are doing all we can do quickly and safely,” Alliant Energy vice president Joel Schmidt said.
He said crews were bringing in smaller equipment as their work shifted to backyards and individual homes.
With high temperatures expected over the weekend, the city announced Friday that it would open the U.S. Cellular Center on Saturday and Sunday as a cooling station for those who may lack air conditioning.
Earlier this week during a brief stop in Cedar Rapids, Trump promised to approve Reynolds’ request for $180 million in FEMA aid for damaged homes and infrastructure for 27 counties in the state. He also promised additional funding for farmers who were affected by the storm.
The FEMA request includes $100 million in damage to private utilities and $82.7 million in damage to homes, according to early state estimates. In additional, farmers sustained an estimated $2.7 billion in damage to crops, grain storage and buildings, which is part of the declaration and would likely be covered under various U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.
The FEMA requests for the 26 other Iowa counties are still being assessed.
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