FEMA in Williamson County To Assess Tornado Damage
Governor Kim Reynolds says it’s too early to tell whether Iowa will receive a disaster designation or other government assistance for areas affected by the tornadoes on March 5. FEMA, according to its website, considers criteria such as the disaster’s per capita impact, how much of the damage is covered by insurance, and whether another federal aid is available to better address the disaster’s impact. Officials in Williamson County just finished an initial evaluation of storm damage. More than 1,200 buildings, including more than 50 commercial businesses in the vicinity were damaged in some way by the tornadoes, according to officials.
“We’ll wait and see what’s happening with the federal (disaster declaration),” she said. “We have to fit certain criteria before we qualify. That’ll be part of the adjustments made by FEMA on the ground, and they’ll look at what the total damage is. And we’ll see if we’re close to hitting that mark.”
The US Department of Agriculture noted in a press release on Wednesday that numerous types of assistance are already available for the mostly rural communities affected by the tornadoes in Adair, Benton, Decatur, Jasper, Lucas, Madison, Polk, Warren, and Wayne counties. In addition to crop insurance, those programs include:
- Indemnity for livestock lost in the storms.
- Compensation for feed and grazing losses.
- Help to replant lost orchards and tree nurseries.
- Emergency loans for farmers unable to obtain commercial financing for storm-related repairs and other costs, including replacing storage facilities.
- Financial and technical assistance to restore fencing damaged farmland or forests, and remove debris.
For more information, consult the Department of Agriculture’s Disaster Assistance Recovery Tool.
“FEMA is here to determine a need and if there is a need for federal support and if that is validated by the state of Texas and the White House then we will be here in the long run to support. It’s too early to tell whether or not that will be the case,” said Ben Akers with FEMA external affairs.
In the meantime, FEMA has urged tornado survivors to report damage to the state. “Disasters are locally managed, state-supported, and federally funded. It’s easier to start from the ground up, work with local officials, and make sure they have all the information needed to move forward,” said Akers. Residents with damaged structures can help FEMA by taking as many photos of the damage as possible, saving any receipts from work done by contractors, and also getting the names and phone numbers of the contractors, Akers said.
For those affected by the tornadoes that need assistance, the MARC is open to anyone regardless if they live in the county or not. It is located at the Williamson County Expo Center at 5350 Bill Pickett Trail in Taylor. It is open Wednesday, March 30th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.