Gov. Reynolds appeals FEMA individual assistance denial

T-R File Photo - Gov. Kim Reynolds tours destruction in Marshalltown on July 20, one day after an EF-3 tornado came through the city.

DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds has filed an appeal letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, requesting they reconsider the denial of individual assistance funds for Marshalltown tornado victims.

The letter comes about two weeks after FEMA officials announced no such funding would be coming to Marshalltown for homeowners, renters or businesses impacted by the July 19 storm. A request for separate FEMA public assistance funds was granted, however.

“In its denial letter, FEMA said it had determined the impact to individuals and households was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant a designation of individual assistance,” the statement read. “Following FEMA’s denial, the governor directed the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to work closely with local emergency management agencies to determine if there were additional impacts caused by the tornadoes.”

In the statement, Reynolds said state and local officials now have “a much clearer picture” of the tornado’s impact on victims. She also said current relief resources are “stretched thin” and more assistance could help some people who were impacted prepare for the approaching winter.

The appeal also applied to an earlier request for FEMA individual assistance for Polk County residents affected by tornadoes around the same time as the Marshalltown tornado.

Individual assistance funding can be used by private citizens for housing fixes, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services.

Local government agencies in Marshall County are still working through the process of accessing FEMA public assistance funds. That funding was granted after President Donald Trump approved a request from Reynolds earlier this month.

To read the whole letter, visit https://governor.iowa.gov/2018/09/gov-reynolds-appeals-denial-of-assistance-for-iowans-impacted-by-july-tornadoes