Oskaloosa.com

April 26, 2013

Individual assistance available to flood victims

By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Mahaska County may have dried out from last week’s heavy rain, but its impact lingers.

During the recent heavy rains, many area homes experienced basement flooding. Jamey Robinson, Mahaska County Emergency Management coordinator, said 40 or so individuals filled out an online form regarding flood damage. Many of the flooded basements were in Oskaloosa, said Robinson, adding that water managed to get to a few fuse boxes in some homes.

After Robinson petitioned for individual assistance from the state, Gov. Terry Branstad issued a proclamation activating the Iowa Individual Assistance Program for five counties in eastern Iowa, including Mahaska County. Other counties included in the April 19 proclamation were Johnson, Cedar, Scott and Washington.

Robinson noted that residents have up to 45 days after the April 19 proclamation to apply for individual assistance.

According to a press release from Gov. Branstad’s office, “The Iowa Individual Assistance Program provides grants up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or a maximum annual income of $39,060, for a family of three.

Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and for the expense of temporary housing. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The grant application and instructions are available at the ‘Disaster Assistance’ link on the Iowa Department of Human Services Web site: www.dhs.iowa.gov. Applications must be received within 45 days.”

As heavy rain continued to fall during the recent weather event, Robinson said he kept an eye on the infrastructure throughout the county.

Mahaska County Emergency Management’s Web site, www.mahaskaready.com., was updated with road closures throughout the county during the heavy rain event. Robinson said this is important information for people to have, especially if they plan on driving dark hours such as early in the morning.

Driving on flooded roadways is dangerous. Robinson said one driver in Marion County had to be rescued near the Marion and Mahaska counties line.

As always, Robinson urged residents to be aware of weather conditions and to prepare for these conditions. One way to do that is to sign up for the Nixle system, which can alert residents of many kinds of weather and other emergency situations by sending a text message to their phone or e-mail. To sign up for Nixle, text mcema to 888777. People may also sign up at www.mahaskaready.com/Nixle.html.

For information about the Iowa Individual Assistance Program, visit www.mahaskaready.com/Disaster_Information.html.

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.